It looks like the beginning of the end for Blu-ray. Yes, it won the battle against HD-DVD, but the victory looks like it will ultimately be relatively short-lived.
Samsung has joined Oppo in abandoning production of Blu-ray players, as consumers increasingly vote with their feet and pick the easier streaming option, rather than waiting for delivery of a physical disc.
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“Samsung will no longer introduce new Blu-ray or 4K Blu-ray player models in the US market,” a Samsung spokesperson told CNET. Yes, that only refers to new devices and only for the US market, but the writing is pretty much on the wall: the age of physical video media is drawing to a close.
That’s not just reading between the lines, it’s backed up by the data on the subject. Nielsen’s 2018 report noted that not only has ownership of a DVD/Blu-ray player dropped from 72% to 66% year-on-year but that the average American adult spends five minutes a day on either medium.
Obviously, that figure is averaged out – not many people watch five minutes of a DVD before going to do something else – but you get the picture.
While Blu-rays and 4K Blu-rays were once the only way to get the best image and sound quality, streaming and downloads are rapidly catching up. A Blu-ray matching 1080p is the standard for most streaming sites, and many allow you the option to upgrade to 4K on certain movies and series.
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Add in the convenience and the space-saving potential of ditching a large physical collection, and it’s not a huge surprise people are shifting. And with that kind of shift, it’s even less surprising that Samsung isn’t seeking to fight the tide.
Do you still buy Blu-ray disks, or have you made the shift to streaming? Let us know on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.