Samsung Presses Pause on Blu-ray Players

The end of physical media may be in sight...

Samsung Blu-ray Player

Blu-ray and 4K UHD could be on their last legs, if production trends continue as they are.

Samsung has announced it’s done making new Blu-ray players, scrapping its plans to release a new high-end 4K model in the US this year. This news follows reports that recent movie offerings such as The Favourite, Stan & Ollie, and Holmes And Watson will skip 4K UHD completely upon home release.

“Samsung will no longer introduce new Blu-ray or 4K Blu-ray player models in the US market,” Samsung told CNET, confirming the move.

It’s thought that there are a number of reasons behind Blu-ray slowly going the way of the dodo, including a lack of willingness on the industry’s part to bring the unit price down on new releases, a surge in streaming options, and a general public who are indifferent about upgrading their kits at home – US figures have 4K Blu-rays cornering just 5.3% of the sales market, and DVD still going strong with 57.9%.

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We’ve still got a way to go yet until physical media gasps its last, though – Sony and Panasonic haven’t pulled out of the market yet, with both companies making new models in 2019. Japan didn’t stop making VCRs until mid-2016!

In the UK last year, Hugh Jackman’s musical sleeper hit The Greatest Showman was the greatest success story for DVD and Blu-ray releases, but it also broke the record for the most digital sales during the summer of 2018, marking a notable shift in the balance of power between the formats. Both Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Avengers: Infinity War did pretty well when they made their home debut, too, but films lacking a $200+ million budget are still struggling to find a sizeable audience, and the future looks to be very streaming-heavy as it stands.

How long will you continue to buy DVDs, Blu-rays or 4K UHD releases, and do you think physical media’s days are numbered?