Samsung Abandons Blu-ray Players For U.S. Market As Streaming Media Dominates
If one thing is for sure, recent home TV and movies services market changes have been seismic. Over the years we have gone through Beta, VHS, laser discs, DVDs, HD-DVD, Blu-Ray, but nothing has reshaped the home entertainment landscape like streaming video. Each time a new form factor for delivering movies in the home launches, the old form factors have eventually gone extinct and it appears that Blu-ray may be the next format to die off. Samsung has announced that it is not going to produce any new Blu-ray players for the U.S. market.
Samsung announced that no new 1080p or 4K Blu-ray players would be produced for the U.S. and the new announcement gives more detail than an earlier statement by Samsung that it would stop making 4K players for the U.S. The last new Samsung 4K Blu-ray player was launched in 2017, not one new player was added since then and Samsung has reportedly scrapped plans to introduce a new high-end 4K player this year.
Samsung has been gearing up for this move; it didn't offer support for the Dolby Vision standard, something supported by most competitors. Instead, Samsung launched its own version of HDR10 dubbed HDR10+ that worked for both physical discs and streaming content. Samsung's competitor in the Blu-ray space, Oppo, has also vacated the segment ending production of 4K players last April.
Conversely, Sony is another major player in the Blu-ray arena and it did unveil its M2 player last month at CES 2019. Panasonic has also launched a new Blu-ray player in Europe and Australia. Manufacturers ending Blu-ray player production is no surprise though, considering sales of physical Blu-ray discs are shrinking, with a decline of 11.5% in Q3 2018, according to reports.
Sales of stand-alone Blu-ray players have also been impacted by the surge in popularity of game consoles like the PS4 and Xbox One as those devices act as Blu-ray players and are often cheaper or on par price wise versus a dedicated, standalone Blu-ray player. Streaming services like Netflix have also begun to get name movies and shows onto their services, and Netflix supports both HDR and 4K streaming currently. Apple is also jumping into the streaming market with a rival to Netflix expected to launch next month. As internet bandwidth continues to increase and high fidelity video formats are able to be streamed, the Blu-ray player will likely go the way of the Dodo in the not so distant future.