Surprisingly for the electronics titan, Samsung has not released any new Blu-ray or Ultra HD Blu-ray players for the US market since 2017. And now in 2019 it looks like their development of Blu-ray players has ceased entirely, as the company recently confirmed that it has no plans to release any new Blu-ray players.

Sales of movies on physical media have been on the decline for years now as streaming services have been gaining market share. To make the matters particularly worrying, sales of Ultra HD Blu-ray discs are considerably behind sales of Blu-ray and DVD movies. In fact, despite being technologically obsolete, DVD is still the most popular format, according to a report from MediaPlayNews that cites NPD VideoScan. On the week ended on February 9, DVD commanded 55.2% of unit sales, Blu-ray captured 39.8%, whereas Ultra HD Blu-ray only had a 5% unit share. Whether this is entirely consumer-driven however is up for debate; some believe that the lion’s share of DVDs are being purchased by disc rental services.

Presumably because of low popularity of Ultra HD Blu-ray discs among consumers, Samsung has backed off plans to release any new Blu-ray players. Specifically, the company has confirmed that they don't have any plans to launch new UHD BD players in the US; however they have not elaborated on other markets. Keeping in mind that the US is the largest market for consumer electronics, canning the product category here means that it would be quite surprising to see it maintained in other markets.

Apart from Samsung, Oppo also recently pulled the plug on its Blu-ray players as well. Furthermore, in an odd move from the studios, several high-profile movies including The FavouriteStan & Ollie, and Holmes And Watson, will not be released on UHD media.

Meanwhile, though Samsung is set to bow out of the market for Blu-ray players, there are a number of other makers that will continue to offer players, including Sony, and Panasonic. Both companies introduced their new decks back at CES 2019, so it does not look like they will be cancelling this product category any time soon. In the meantime, market researchers predict that shipments of Blu-ray players will decline from 72.1 million units in 2017 to 68.0 million units in 2023.

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Source: Forbes, SlashGear

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  • eastcoast_pete - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    Disappointing that optical drive development has seemingly stalled, and not just at Samsung and for Blu-ray players. Optical is still used for some backup needs, and there are advantages for having certain data stored in media that cannot be modified after they're written. Reply
  • Hulk - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    No unexpected. I am a little surprised that DVD has the most market share. Visually the leap from DVD to Bluray is enormous. Bluray to Ultra Bluray less so. Reply
  • CannedTurkey - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    Unless I'm watching something action/effects heavy, I'll go with DVD over Blu-ray. I don't need the extra pixels or enhanced sound on a comedy or drama (my wife will only watch those once anyway, the extra 4-5$ is unnecessary). Reply
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - link

    Being blind must be nice. ;-) Reply
  • edzieba - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    The majority of consumers seem to be happy with the quality of streaming, which is often well below DVD quality. Reply
  • Hulk - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    Huh? Below DVD quality streaming? Just about everything on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Sling, etc... which is I think where most people are streaming is HD quality. The bitrate may not be as high as DVD but the quality due to the better compression vs DVD's MPEG2 and higher resolution more than make up for it. Reply
  • Opencg - Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - link

    its close enough. the dark areas are a bit noisey and even the bright areas are to a lesser extent. not sure what the audio situation is like. if it supports surround or high sample rate Reply
  • JeffFlanagan - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    I'm not surprised. People who resist new technology are still buying DVDs. People who embrace new tech are streaming 4K video. Where's the market for a 4K plastic disc? Hoarders? Reply
  • Inteli - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    Enthusiasts? People who want to own the movie rather than pay a fee to access it? A UHD disc is still far and away higher quality than 4k streaming. Reply
  • Manch - Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - link

    Exactly. Streaming is OK for some things. Blurays and UHD discs provide far better quality. Plus, the time it takes to download is ridiculous for me.. Reply

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