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



View All Comments

  • npz - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    From everything I've read, the Samsung BD players were buggy or missing features. LG, Sony, Panasonic and maybe Philips will soldier on. And if you have a game console, you already have a Bluray player.

    It's good to have a permanent good for a collection instead of something that is temporary online and some segments (mostly non-US) are not available streaming, or offer more/better content on bluray
  • HStewart - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    I think you are correct and this does not reflect Blu-ray in general, But Samsung itself. When I purchase an HDR 4k for my bedroom, purchase 2 4K Bluray players. I notice these players are extremely loud and one Bluray movie struggle to play so I swap the player out for Sony player and it work find. I now wonder if when my StarTrek NG blu rays had an issue with protection pop up if they would work fine on Sony. Samsung 4k Bluray is without a doubt a Buggy device.

    I do dislike that 4k movies don't include DVD's but for me what makes 4k movies better is that it has Dobly Atmos tracks on it. Works great for me on my LG sk10 soundbar
  • haukionkannel - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    You Also have to remember that hdr content is only available in uhd Blu-ray format. And hdr is actully good improvement in image quality! Reply
  • HStewart - Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - link

    does non 4k formats even support HDR on TV's Reply
  • frenchy_2001 - Friday, February 22, 2019 - link

    Only 4k TVs support HDR formats. Reply
  • PeachNCream - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    I suspect that next gen consoles will ship without an optical drive. Current consoles already sometimes require large downloads to obtain a working copy of a game that ships only partly on physical media and I'm certain that eliminating second-hand game resale is something all of three major console players are interested in doing. Reply
  • HStewart - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    Didn't Microsoft try that with xbox 360 with HDDVD drive that was a complete bomb. Reply
  • frenchy_2001 - Friday, February 22, 2019 - link

    Expecting BluRays to be "permanent" is a fool's illusion. Most players have to query a license server before playing your disks. What happens when the servers go down?
    The video's industry has been very protective of their products and they dream of a recurrent income. It failed through format change (people did not like to buy the same movie multiple times).
    Streaming give them both strong protection of their IPs and recurring income.
  • mode_13h - Saturday, February 23, 2019 - link

    This is funny, because I never connected any of my blu-ray players to the internet. I watch about 1 disc per week for the past 5 years. Reply
  • mode_13h - Saturday, February 23, 2019 - link

    That's different discs, BTW.

    And yes, content providers would love to get revenue each time anyone watches a movie.

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