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.
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.
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!
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).
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.
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.
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?
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!!!)
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.
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.