New standard could pave way for higher capacity Blu-ray discs

Already feeling the pinch of a mere 25GB per layer on a Blu-ray disc? Neither are we, but it looks like Sony and Panasonic have been busily working on ways to boost capacity nonetheless, and they've now devised a new method that seems to be on the fast track to becoming a standard. The best news is that it doesn't involve a change in Blu-ray optics, but rather something called the Maximum Likelihood Sequence Estimation evaluation index (or i-MLSE -- the "i' is just for kicks, it seems), which is a new means of estimating the read error rate of discs on the fly that has apparently be made possible thanks to "recent hardware advancements." According to Sony and Panasonic, that should now allow discs to hold up to 33.4 GB per layer, but it's not exactly clear what that means for existing Blu-ray players (a little firmware assistance seems to at least be a conceivable option, though). There's also no timeline for a rollout just yet, but Sony is reportedly now set to propose widespread adoption of i-MLSE to the Blu-ray Disc Association, of which it just so happens to be the leading member.