Sunday March 03, 2019

The End of Blu-ray

Catastrophic thinking, perhaps, but Samsung’s recent decision to discontinue its Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray players has evidently convinced some enthusiasts the format is finished and on its last legs. ZDNet’s Steven Vaughan-Nichols, for one, bluntly stated this week "Blu-ray is dead," justifying that thought by relaying Samsung’s market dominance. He also believes DVD is ( finally? ) on the way out, as Netflix hasn’t spent a cent to keep its physical rental business afloat. While streaming will only grow, aficionados argue studios will always make room for a high-quality format, even if it does stumble into a niche.

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The numbers speak for themselves. According to the Digital Entertainment Group 2018 home entertainment report, we spent more than ever on video last year, $23.3 billion, up 11.5 percent from 2017. Of that, subscription streaming -- led by Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu -- took the lion's share, with a 30 percent year-over-year rise to $12.9 billion. We also bought and rented another $4.55 billion worth of online movies and TV shows. Blu-ray? Even with the growing popularity of 4K Blu-ray, movie, and TV show sales only came to $4.03 billion. That's a 14.6-percent drop from 2017.