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Sony, Panasonic Propose Blu-ray Capacity Increase

Posted January 4, 2010 08:56 AM by Josh Dreuth

Blu-ray DiscSony 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.


Source: Tech On! | Permalink | United States [Country settings]

News comments (34 comments)


deado
  Jan 04, 2010
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I think this will be a must for 3-D movies and stuff like LOtR ROTK EE, to maintain the quality.

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dobyblue
  Jan 04, 2010
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Nice one Sony and Panasonic! Weren't they thinking of bumping the maximum data rate as well?
MADNOD
  Jan 04, 2010
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so the increase was planned only for the 25GB and not the 50 GB?

dncpunke
  Jan 04, 2010
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I believe the increase is per layer not just for a single layer disc
siyotecreopove
  Jan 04, 2010
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madnod: each layer

SellmeyourDVD
  Jan 04, 2010
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33.4 * 2 = 66.8

saginawjuggalo
  Jan 04, 2010
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I caught this great news yesterday on another site. Hopefully everything works out and the BDA gives it a green light!

Sidewinder
  Jan 04, 2010
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More space is always welcome. LOL one single layer BD would overtrump a dual layer HD-DVD.

vveksuvarna
  Jan 04, 2010
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bring on those 120gb blurys, which got rejected before this.

audioquest
  Jan 04, 2010
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Ha Ha Ha Sidewinder: Let's continue to bash a dead format. The format war is over, time to move on dude.

Bobby Henderson
  Jan 04, 2010
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Actually, this development would make it possible for movie studios to put a lot more movies on single layer discs rather than BD50 discs. There's a lot of BD50 discs out there with the feature barely passing the 30GB mark.

DefTechPioElite
  Jan 04, 2010
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I'm assuming this is for 3-D like some else said, and that's cool BUT; if the cost of discs goes up purely for this/3-D, I will be unhappy because I am one of the few who can't see 3-D. Again, as long as they keep a non 3-D option available I'll be happy.
On a non 3-D note, hopefully they will use some of this extra space for higher bit audio/video, especially audio or higher sampled audio!

Sidewinder
  Jan 04, 2010
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@audioquest

Why not? Seriously though, that's just what I thought at first: 33GB>30GB and it will soon be the 2nd BD victory birthday
Jimmy Smith
  Jan 04, 2010
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Unless the movie is over 4.5 hours (2D) or 3 hours (3D) then BD-50s can fit the movie without compromising quality. Every current 3D movie is short enough to easily fit on a current BD-50 and every theatrically released movie in 2D can as well.

Im highly sceptical of these discs. Blu-Ray players were designed with 25 gig discs per layer in mind not 33. It seems highly improbable something as simple as a firmware upgrade can ever change that. It reminds me of HD-DVD claiming they have 51 gigabyte triple layer discs coming out. Nothing ever came of those I think I think the same will happen here. I hope to be proven wrong however. It would be nice to increase Blu-Rays play times to 6 hours (2D) or 4 hours (3D).

mustang-gt-2002
  Jan 04, 2010
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what about us with Blu-ray players profile 1.1 that cant be upgraded? no Ethernet jack for firmware upgrades :-(

fdm
  Jan 04, 2010
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If every blu-ray player ever made can play these, then bring 'em on.

(Color me skeptical, what are the odds of every blu-ray player ever made getting a firmware upgrade, or failing that, being able to play these bigger discs as is?)

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Rike255
  Jan 04, 2010
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If the PS3 can (or will) support it, then I'm all for this! Would suck if some players got left out because they're non-upgradeable or the company doesn't release any FW/

bluflu
  Jan 04, 2010
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@ mustang-gt-2002,

All Blu-ray players can be firmware updated. You just have to burn a disc to update Profile 1.1 players. The was also true for past DVD players too.

richteer
  Jan 04, 2010
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@Bobby Henderson: I hope not. If anything, the increased capacity should hopefully encourage studios to use less compression, resulting in larger files and (even) better quality.

thegline
  Jan 04, 2010
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Slightly off-topic, but I couldn't help but remember this. When I read the word "jitter", I remembered this little horror story, courtesy of a long-time maven of audio engineering: http://www.rogernichols.com/EQ/EQ_2000_02.html Either hilarious or horrifying, depending on how you look at it.

wallendo
  Jan 04, 2010
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I suspect this new technology will never make it to BD video disks. The BDA was very quick to shoot down the 75GB and 100GB multi-layer discs, and I suspect will do the same for this new technology.

Unless these disc can somehow be compatible with near 100% of the installed base (at least of 1.1 and 2.0 players), incompatibility problems could rapidly derail the formats progression. This technology uses the same laser and aperture, but the article does not state that it is compatible with the rest of current drive mechanisms.

New technology discs may play a role in in data back-up and archiving.

In fact, the article linked above talks about technology for verifying 33 GB / layer discs, but doesn't discuss the technology behind the discs themselves.

maidenbrain
  Jan 04, 2010
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@ thegline

Makes you wonder how many times we've received something inferior just because no one cared enough to octuple check.

alphadec
  Jan 04, 2010
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even if this a 16gb increase I would say yes to this but I want more.

Doc Ostrow
  Jan 04, 2010
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mustang-gt-2002:

You can download the update and burn it on a CD. I updated my profile 1.1 and my profile 2.0 players that way.
Leiw
  Jan 04, 2010
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I'm all for the increased disc space however I'm not so sure that the BDA will accept these new specifications..
ender21
  Jan 04, 2010
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I can't imagine most of the installed base is Profile 1.0 or 1.1. The market had barely been penetrated when 1.1 was the newest option, and the "bargain" players that have flown off the shelves have been all been 2.0 haven't they?
matt87
  Jan 04, 2010
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any chance this increaces the read speed too? I was under the impression that read speed was more of a limiting factor than capacity, you can't increase quality without increacing bitrate/read speed, so this will be good for TV sets and stuff on one disc, but as for normal movies, they will still only take up llike 30GB a disc (maybe thats the idea? they wanna fit more movies on one layer? seems 33Gig would be good for that, make movies cheaper!!!)

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wvl
  Jan 04, 2010
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Can't stop progress. So much development for blu ray has been achieved after the HD/DVD and Blu Ray war. Things are getting better all the time.

phatrat1982
  Jan 05, 2010
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I would be ok if these new discs could play in my player, I can not afford a second player just yet, although we did just upgrade out TV to a larger 1080p set finally so the smaller set will go into the bed room and that means we do have a need for a new player. But unless prices go down further I will be sticking to the same one I have because as of now it's the best price out ther profile 1.1 or not.


As for 3-D, I not only can not see the effect, but watching movies in 3-D gives me headaches and light headed, with or without the glasses.

Jhouston
  Jan 05, 2010
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I still can't believe they shot down the 75GB and 100GB multi-layer discs!! Just think of how awesome for backing up data those bad boys would of been!!

lovgun7
  Jan 05, 2010
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for what ? not like that many studios are releasing flicks on the 100GB discs ... of 50GB for that matter

Minimejer05
  Jan 05, 2010
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Awesome news. Bring on bigger discs.

Jhouston
  Jan 06, 2010
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Ah lovgun7,

Like I said,for data backup and also for archiving. Not to mention fitting entire seasons and movie series on one disc.
blindcat87
  Jan 07, 2010
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The difference between this specification change and the adoption of discs with more than two layers is that for each additional layer added to a disc, the coaster rate increases exponentially, a problem that is hard to overcome, while this change is just a firmware alteration that can be tested and confirmed to work before adoption. Apples and oranges.

I think that if Panny and Sony can show that the new spec can work consistently, they will get it through. It might be different if they had to modify the media, but we are talking about using the same discs in a way that they were designed to work. The capacity increase is a function of improving the way the existing technology works as opposed to actually altering the technology. Panny is the largest IP holder in the BDA and holds the chair, and Sony is also no slouch in influence in the BDA so, while I doubt they could bully the rest into adopting something iffy and risky, I think they can get through a change that can be shown to work consistently and well. The new 3D spec already involves raising the max bitrate, so we already know that the room to grow built into the technology has proven useful and that the BDA is willing to take advantage of this in a way that is careful to keep backwards compatibility in mind.


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