Blu-ray has faced down some pretty significant criticisms in its rise to dominance over the past few years, but complaints about its storage capacity was never one of them. Never the less a research partnership between Panasonic and Sony has yielded a new technique which will increase disk capacities from 25GB per layer to 33GB. Normally a small jump like this would have us rolling our eyes when it comes to the prospect of replacing all our hardware, but interestingly enough, it appears as though the jump in capacity can be achieved using the optics in our current players.
The new standard is called i-MLSE which stands for Maximum Likelihood Sequence Estimation, this is a method of estimating the read error rate of disks on the fly. If all goes as planned the only action users will need to take to read the disks would be a firmware update on existing players. There is no timeline for the rollout yet, but Sony is set to propose the adoption of i-MLSE to the Blu-ray Disk Association in the coming months, which as you might imagine, they have a fair bit of sway over.