Over a decade ago, manufacturer Samsung was the first to release a commercial Blu-ray video disc player to market. Three years ago they introduced the world’s first 4K/Ultra Blu-ray player.
How things have changed as last week the company confirmed to CNET that: “Samsung will no longer introduce new Blu-ray or 4K Blu-ray player models in the US market.”
Market research firm NPD Group suggests Samsung currently has the largest chunk of the dedicated Blu-ray player market at 37% followed by Sony (31%) and LG (13%). For them to be effectively abandoning that market isn’t a good sign, not helped either by niche brand Oppo getting out of the market as well a year ago.
Stephen Baker, NPD’s VP of industry analysis, speculates to the outlet that low hardware margins, Smart TV integration (Samsung TV’s are about to get AirPlay and iTunes), and the shift to streaming are the main factors along with declining sales.
Digital Entertainment Group’s 2018 home entertainment report released last month indicates spending on streaming has risen to $23.3 billion – up 11.5% on the year before. $12.9 billion of that was spent on SVOD services (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, etc.), and $4.55 billion on direct VOD sales and rentals (Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, etc.) – up 30% and 10.5% respectively on 2017’s numbers.
Physical media spending? Even with 4K Blus added into the mix, the total spending on film and TV disc releases on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD Blu-ray combined came to $4.03 billion – down 14.6% on 2017.
This week a Sony Electronics spokesperson told the same outlet they’re sticking with it for now: “Sony Electronics continues to see very solid demand for our 4K Blu-ray player lineup from customers that feel this format delivers the best 4K home-theater viewing experience. Consumers want options when it comes to enjoying video content, whether it’s sourced from recorded media, video-on-demand services, or broadcast television. And as our customer’s needs evolve, Sony will continue to provide them the flexibility to enjoy high-quality video content.”