Sony and Panasonic have announced a new technology that would increase the capacity of a single-layer Blu-ray disc from 25GB to 33.4GB. The new technology, dubbed i-MLSE (Maximum Likelihood Sequence Estimation) evaluation index, is achievable using existing Blu-ray laser diodes, and can subsequently be added to existing Blu-ray players with a firmware upgrade.

The larger capacity would ensure room for longer 3D movies with all the pre-requisite special features on a single disc. Perhaps more importantly, many existing Blu-ray titles weigh roughly 30GB, which requires a dual-layer 50GB disc, meaning the proposed increase to 33.4GB per layer could lead to cheaper Blu-ray movies for the consumer.

With changes to the Blu-ray specification still being proposed, over five years since the first consumer devices were sold, those of you who still haven't jumped onto the Blu-ray bandwagon should take note and ensure that when you do, you buy a player from a reputable manufacturer who is likely to offer firmware updates for their legacy devices. The Gizmag team (still) recommends the Sony PlayStation 3 - which is conveniently a very nice way to sneak a very nice games console into the house.