33.4GB Blu-ray Layers Could Lead To More Spacious Optical Discs

Blu-ray adoption still has aways to go before it matches the ubiquity of DVD, but those who can't get enough storage are already looking beyond the first generation. We've already seen TDK working hard on a 320GB optical disc based around BD technology, and now there's a new report suggesting something entirely more reasonable. You see, a 320GB Blu-ray Disc is probably years away, but a new method of evaluating BD media quality has led to the discovery of a size increase that's much more modest.

The increase would apply to each layer, bringing them from 25GB (currently) to 33.4GB each. There are plenty of dual-layer Blu-ray Discs, so there's a theoretical new limit of around 66GB per disc. A new partial response maximum likelihood (PRML) signal processing setup would enable the 33.4GB layers to be read and written on, and best of all the new method could continue to use existing Blu-ray optics. In other words, these new, more spacious discs could still be accessed by Blu-ray burners and players that are already on the market.

Amazingly, this whole 33.4GB concept isn't entirely new. In fact, major companies have known about the possibility for awhile, but in the past it was remarkably difficult to evaluate jitter. Sony and Panasonic have since resolved the problem by developing the i-MLSE (Maximum Likelihood Sequence Estimation) evaluation index, with the former already announcing plans to "propose widespread adoption of i-MLSE via the Blu-ray Disc Association and other avenues." Obviously, Sony is a huge player in the Blu-ray realm, so if they start to push this, there's a good chance that Blu-ray Discs with 33.4GB layers could be a reality soon. Who knows when and if this will become a reality, but we're certainly looking forward to having discs bigger than our hard drives in the near future.