Is this the end of physical media? Let’s maintain a moment of silence for Blu-Ray because it is coming to an end. We know, it is difficult to believe, but Samsung announced in the last week that they will stop the production of Blu-ray players in the United States by 2019. Even though 2018 was the biggest year for the home entertainment industry, the sales of Blu-Ray and DVD has been decreasing dramatically.
A spokesperson from Samsung confirmed during an interview with CNET that Samsung won’t be introducing any new Blu-ray or 4K Blu-ray player models. With the biggest Blu-Ray providing retiring from the market, the future seems bright for other companies including Sony and Panasonic. After hearing the news, the two might have decided to continue with their sales and give some nostalgic Blu-Ray lovers to grab history. However, they won’t keep producing the models from long as the market has recorded lower sales throughout the past few years.
A bad Christmas
It came as a shock when during Christmas 2018 DVD and Blu-ray sales dropped by 30 percent compared to the previous year. The retailers didn't expect such a huge decline and were shocked at the reports. Entertainment Retailers Association's Kim Bayley nicknamed the incident Christmas from hell. On the other hand, the overall entertainment sales increased by nine percent in 2018 compared to 2017.
One of the reasons responsible for the decline is the rise in video-on-demand, streaming services, and general digital media sales. Subscription streaming in the United States hit an all-time high. It grew by almost 30 percent in just 12 months. This has motivated consumers to move away from physical media. The second physical media to continuously see a drop in sales is discs. The sales dropped by 15 percent consecutively. In 2018, the total DVD and Blu-ray sales were only $4 billion.
A common person would think that that is still a lot of sales, but it actually isn’t. It is 80 percent less compared to subscription streaming sales of over $12.9 billion during the same period.
Finding the main cause
Even with the rise of streaming services and other virtual media services, book and physical media lovers have always gone back to boost their collection. The book industry isn’t suffering much as after the rise of e-books, people are coming back to their first love, printed books. On the other hand, vinyl sales have been rising year after year as music fans all around the world are collecting them for memory.
According to us, the patterned decrease is because of corporate interests. Businesses have achieved success in making people believe that it is better to have temporary access to digital media than having to buy something and hold on to it for a lifetime. With books it is different. You don't need anything special to help you read it, which has kept it a popular choice. Whereas, a vinyl record needs a turnable, which makes people nostalgic. With Blu-Ray, there are no such feelings. It could be in the next 20 or 30 years when only a few companies are making it, but as of now, companies can't wait to get rid of it.
We also think that it might be the high costs of Blu Ray discs that have diverted the audience to their cheaper alternative, which is the streaming service. Even though Blu Ray is going to be a part of history very soon, we all must agree that it offered better sound and image quality.
Another company to bid adieu to Blu-Ray
Samsung’s decision isn’t first of its kind as Oppo announced on its website that they would start gradually decreasing the production of Blu-Ray back in August 2018. According to the website, their 4K UHD players have reached their maximum point of performance, and they would like to retire the products. Oppo is most famous for its hi-fi systems along with Blu Ray players.
The brand also mentioned that support, warranties, and offers on the existing products would be the same as earlier. They will continue with in-warranty and out-warranty services for the products even after they stop the production. Customers will receive the same high quality they did all these years.
Oppo also mentioned that they will focus on updating newer products like UDP-203 and UDP-205. BDP-103 and older products will get a physical makeover to counteract the critical issues they are facing. The tech company will be a focus on smartphones and related accessories.
Oppo’s plan for UDP-203 and UDP-205 4K Blu-ray players is to develop an all-new feature, which will be a competition to Dolby Vision dynamic metadata HDR system, which is a famous and longstanding model in the market. The HDR10+ format is exciting news because no brand has released 4K Blu-ray discs in it as it was ratified as a format only in 2017.
IMAX Original 4K Blu-rays of Journey To The South Pacific and A Beautiful Planet will be released in the HDR10+ format, but it is only a rumor. Bad Times At The El Royale will be launched in 4K Blu-ray. 20th Century Fox has confirmed long back that when the format is available, they will launch El Royale in it.
Other products that Oppo announced it would stop production of include DVD systems and PM3 Headphones. The promises made for technical support are the same for these products. All these products will be sold through Oppo’s website and third-party sellers until stocks last. They mentioned that they don’t have the resources to continue their manufacture. The brand chose not to mention the reason for stopping production, but anyone can guess, it is because of low sales and customer inclination towards streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.