According to Forbes, Samsung is discontinuing the production of new 4K Blu-ray players in the USA. And at least in 2019 the company will not introduce any new devices worldwide. Existing players will at least continue to be sold off. This announcement is particularly remarkable because Samsung produced the first 4K capable Blu-ray player about two years ago!
Therefore, the fundamental question is whether a Blu-ray player is still up to date at all. After the withdrawal of Samsung, the Blu-ray player market will now be dominated by Sony and Panasonic. Sony, above all, because the Playstation can also play Blu-ray. The fact that current models of the Xbox Blu-ray can also play movies (after the aberrations with the HD DVD) does not make the market any easier, especially for Panasonic.
The fact that the Dolby Vision standard is not supported by the manufacturer’s current players certainly contributed to Samsung’s decision. Instead, Samsung developed its own standard HDR10 – which was quite cumbersome for the consumer..
Is the Blu-ray still state of the art?
There are many reasons why the Blu-ray is actually no longer up to date:
- Blu-ray movies are expensive
In comparison to the DVD, the Blu-ray has never really prevailed. Despite the significantly poorer quality, considerably more DVDs are still sold than Blu-rays. A Blu-ray always costs several EUR more than a DVD. Of course, a Blu-ray is still the non plus ultra, especially for audio and picture enthusiasts. No other medium currently allows such good picture and sound quality. All streaming services, for example, reduce picture and sound to the smallest possible size to save bandwidth. A movie on a Blu-ray has a size between 15 and 50 GB. With Netflix, even in 4K, the size rarely exceeds 10 GB.
- Blu-rays are not very convenient
If you “just” want to watch a movie, the streaming services are simply faster. A Blu-ray must first be bought and if this happens online, it must also be sent to the consumer. With streaming providers, you can watch movies spontaneously and on almost any player. Blu-ray discs can also scratch and then become worthless.
- Blu-ray movies require a special playback device…
…which is also expensive. Ordinary Blu-Ray players are available from about 100€. If you want to support 4K, Dolby Vision or Dolby Atmos, you will pay several hundred EUR more. For comparison: A FireTV Stick from Amazon with the same technologies is already available for about 35€. In addition, a FireTV can als mobile.o be used mobile.
Conclusion: Netflix, Amazon Prime & Co. offers are now simply a better alternative to Blu-ray. And further manufacturers are about to leave the Blu-ray market. The next Xbox from Microsoft will probably no longer have an optical drive.
Like vinyl records, Blu-Ray will therefore become a niche market in the foreseeable future and disappear from the living room. Not yet this year, but it won’t take long…