Sony and Panasonic have announced that they have developed a new optical disc evaluation technology that will allow the layer capacity of Blu-ray media to increase from 25GB to 33.4GB using existing Blu-ray laser diodes. This would presumably allow existing Blu-ray hardware - including Blu-ray Disc players and burners - to play the proposed discs with a simple firmware upgrade.
Currently, disc evaluation is accomplished by analyzing disc jitter, but at higher capacity, that technique becomes unreliable. Sony and Panasonic resolved this by developing i-MLSE (Maximum Likelihood Sequence Estimation) evaluation index, which can perform the same function as jitter but at higher capacities.
Computing MLSE is typically a very processor intensive process, but new advances in hardware development make this not only possible but also in real time (similar to jitter).
No word on when or if the Blu-ray Disc Association will evaluate the proposed layer capacity increase for inclusion in the Blu-ray spec, but with Sony and Panasonic two of the largest Blu-ray members, it will likely happen sometime later this year.
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