If video killed the radio star, then streaming may be doing the same to Blu-Ray. Samsung, the pioneers of the Blu-Ray format, recently announced that they wouldn’t be manufacturing Blu-Ray or 4K Blu-Ray players in the future.
In fact, the company states that it hasn’t produced any new players in the last two years, even though other manufacturers continue to do so.
The numbers speak for themselves – in the United States, subscription streaming revenue increased in 2018 while consumers moved away from purchasing physical media. DVD and Blu-Ray sales accounted for $4 billion in revenue in 2018, a decline of 15% over the past two years, while streaming services accounted for $12.9 billion over the same period.
Added to this, a recent study by Deloitte showed that, over the past 10 years, the number of households that have subscribed to paid-for streaming services increased by nearly 500%.
Other physical media like books and compact discs have been through similar battles in the past with the release of e-books and digital music. However, older formats have been making a comeback in recent times, with people going back to traditional books.
There’s even been a resurgence in the demand for vinyl records and turntables thanks to the nostalgia factor these analogue formats offer.
The difference between streaming services and Blu-Ray is choice. No matter what streaming service you’re subscribed to, you have to wait to see what titles are released on a monthly basis.
Some of the older movies may never feature on streaming services, which is where Blu-Ray and DVD win. With physical media, you have the choice to buy a particular movie that you can watch whenever you want to, no internet connection needed.
Samsung discontinuing their production of Blu-Ray players probably isn’t a signal that the format is dead, but rather a business choice due to competition from other hardware manufacturers.
So, for now at least, it seems unlikely that Blu-Ray is going the way of VHS and cassettes; who knows, those formats may make a return as well someday!