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Samsung calls it quits on 4K Blu-ray players

By Bubbajim · 69 replies
Feb 17, 2019
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  1. In April last year Oppo announced that they were exiting the market for new Blu-ray players, and now it seems Samsung is following suit. Cnet reports that Samsung have confirmed to them they will no longer develop new Blu-ray players, either 1080p or 4k variants, for the U.S. market.

    Samsung last introduced a new Blu-ray player in 2017 and had been conspicuously quiet about new players for a while, shying away from the tech at the most recent trade shows such as Berlin’s IFA or CES in January.

    According to unnamed sources, a new model had been in the works for launch this year but those same contacts confirmed to Forbes that this is no longer the case.

    The decision seems relatively unsurprising given the context of the market. Streaming services are fairly ubiquitous, particularly in the U.S., and Blu-ray sales accounted for just 5.3% of disc sales in the U.S. according to most recent data – much lower than the 57.9% share that DVDs still hold.

    In a battle much like the VHS versus Betamax wars of yesteryear, Blu-ray was the winning tech beating the rival ‘HD DVD’ format pushed by the likes of Toshiba. Backed by giants like Samsung, Panasonic and Sony, Blu-ray ultimately became the standard for 1080p and later 4k physical media. In particular, Sony’s inclusion of Blu-ray capabilities in the PS3 then PS4 helped get the hardware into people’s homes.

    There’s no mention of Samsung pulling existing models from the shelves in the U.S., but if disc sales don’t increase and therefore incentivize hardware manufacturers to produce new models, we could be seeing the beginning of the end for the Blu-ray format.

    Permalink to story.

  2. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 2,240   +1,442

    This is terrible news because you lose a lot of audio and video quality when you stream. The video quality certainly gotten better lately with the 4K streaming and upscaling, but audio will never be anywhere close.
    SantistaUSA, Burty117 and EEatGDL like this.
  3. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,400   +5,021

    Audio is such a low percentage of the video bandwidth. With people wanting to consume 4K. I have no idea why they would choose, sub-standard quality for audio.
    Evernessince likes this.
  4. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,447   +1,917

    audio will be the next thing to be upgraded in streaming services (we are already seeing this happening) so it will be fine.

    I wonder if the next get consoles will still feature a blu-ray player. if they wanted to they could make a cheaper version without it.
  5. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,717   +2,517

    "In a battle much like the VHS versus Betamax wars of yesteryear, Blu-ray was the winning tech beating the rival ‘HD DVD’ format pushed by the likes of Toshiba."

    Sony paid off those other companies to support their inferior standard. HD-DVD was technically superior in every way.

    I remember when CDs came out, and my response was, "Uh, this is dumb." Larger than cassettes, FAR more fragile, sometimes more expensive and at least in the beginning they had no low-frequency. Don't even get me started on dirty lenses.. The only redeeming value for me was the "digital needle", as I thought of it, giving you direct access to the track you wanted. At the very least it would've made sense to use a caddy model for the discs so when they weren't inserted they would be fully protected. A naked digital disc made a lot more sense for home video but I still never owned a player. I never really had much interest in watching things more than once or twice.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
    toooooot likes this.
  6. Tenpack1978

    Tenpack1978 TS Rookie

    Well this sucks because I bought Samsung's top of the line 4K Blu-ray player in 2017. I hope they don't stop making the 4K Blu-ray discs because that would suck.
    avoidz likes this.
  7. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 2,240   +1,442

    Its not a bandwidth issue, its the fact its compressed data. True uncompressed direct digital to digital audio will be hard to replicate or even match.
  8. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,400   +5,021

    Compression is only used because there is/was a bandwidth issue.
    jobeard likes this.
  9. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 2,240   +1,442

    Compression is used because it's being sent through packets across the internet in bytes. Its not a bandwidth issue, its a quality issue. Even uncompressed audio streamed will still be far inferior to direct digital to digital sources.
  10. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,400   +5,021

    No compression was primarily used for storage savings. Bandwidth savings is a secondary perk.
  11. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 2,240   +1,442

    Thats not a relatable comparison, your still missing the boat on this. Audio quality is more then just data on a file.

    Source: https://www.vox.com/culture/2016/12...-media-essential-streaming-dvd-bluray-netflix
    Even if you have 1,000,000 GB's down, and all the same equipment as I do, same receiver, digital cable, everything, the direct source to source content from the disc would be clearer, crisper and superior. It's not about size, or bandwidth. It's about what it has to go through to get there.

    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
    Nightfire likes this.
  12. Adi6293

    Adi6293 TS Maniac Posts: 225   +205

    So blue ray going out before DVD? lmao.....
  13. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,400   +5,021

    That is not the way to look at it. For most people DVD died well before Blue Ray. Which in return Blue Ray never caught on to become as popular.
  14. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,549   +1,537

    Well, it's all about cost vs quality.... Yes, Blu-Rays are better quality than streaming... but not by very much and they are costly to manufacture compared to simply streaming...

    It's too bad, as you can't beat the quality of a 4k Blu-Ray via streaming now - or likely any time in the next few years.

    I find that the way to go is always have the latest Sony Console, as you know they'll be supported longer than any "regular" content player. Heck, the PS3 just received a firmware update the other day, and it's over 12 years old!
  15. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,460   +1,034

    That will be an interesting call, considering how much flak the Xbox One got when it was first revealed to be trying to go that route. And then there have always been rumors of a cheaper, disc-less console release that never materialized...

    I doubt gamers will be all that receptive to it (yet), considering how fickle they can be...
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
    SantistaUSA likes this.
  16. BSim500

    BSim500 TS Evangelist Posts: 608   +1,224

    DVD's are still being bought in large numbers. BR was less successful and UHD is flopping almost as badly as BR-3D due to a combination of reasons including:-

    1. Upgrade fatigue. The long time period between VHS & DVD meant people were happy to upgrade the whole of their old video collections and yet now new "must have" formats are coming so thick and fast (BR, 3D-BR, UHD-BR, HDR-BR, etc) that people have decided they may buy a few titles but nope, they're not going to keep rebuying their entire movie collection 4x times over in the space of 10-15 years in the same way many did once as a one-off event with VHS to DVD. Most of the other non-quality features, eg, takes up half the physical shelf space, no need to rewind, chapters, multiple soundtracks (and in 5.1-7.1 vs analogue Dolby Pro Logic), subtitles & angles, menu's, no faffing about with the "tracking knob", etc, were all had from just DVD. BR & UHD BR are purely about how much someone cares about quality over & above that.

    2. Excessive premium pricing. Combined with 1. above, the only thing current 4K movie pricing does is reassert the decision for most to not replace a whole movie collection for the same reason no-one with a large CD collection was going to pay to upgrade the whole lot at SACD / DVD-Audio pricing levels.

    3. Excessive level of DRM. Even standalone BR 4K players need Internet connections and constant firmware updates, software players for PC's come with stupid restrictions, eg, can't take screencaps, etc. DVD is pretty much a BS-free format these days with free software like VLC or MPC-BE playing it out of the box without the multi-layered DRM of BR (HDCP, AACS, BD+, Cinavia, etc) throwing a hissy fit along the way. In fact, I know two people who've had a standalone UHD BR player (one Samsung, one Toshiba) actually bricked from firmware updates (that were only required for DRM).
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
    HardReset, fktech, ikjadoon and 2 others like this.
  17. loki1944

    loki1944 TS Addict Posts: 155   +92

    4. Harsh data caps and/or slow speeds/satellite internet lag in rural America preclude streaming.
    ikjadoon likes this.
  18. toooooot

    toooooot TS Evangelist Posts: 822   +407

    I too struggle with updates on my sony blu ay player. From fairly stable player, it went to unreliable **** in just 2 updates. I kinda regret buying it. It loses connection, freezes when playing disks. Sometimes I have to turn it off and then reconfigure wireless to be able to do what I did yesterday. I completely agree that this point your brought is something someone might think is too much to pay to own a blu ray player.
    ikjadoon and BSim500 like this.
  19. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,568   +561

    Well they could stream in flac, that would help at least.
  20. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,944   +1,492

    How do you kill something that's already dead?
  21. Vulcanproject

    Vulcanproject TS Evangelist Posts: 740   +1,071


    Convenience beats quality more often than not. Who drives 10 miles to get good expensive coffee when passable cheap coffee is 1 mile away?

    The answer is not many people at all. Only a small niche who hold the very best available in particular higher regard than the vast majority of average people.

    If it's on your doorstep, it's relatively cheap and it's 'good enough' quality then the death knell rings for the alternatives.
    Palladium1987, brucek and Draconian like this.
  22. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 4,007   +3,499

    Audio has needed to be upgraded ages ago. 3D positional audio has been a thing and yet we still get flat music, TV Shows, ect.
    wiyosaya likes this.
  23. Draconian

    Draconian TS Enthusiast Posts: 82   +16

    The audio and video quality of streaming are good enough, and will continue to improve.

    Music CDs offer better sound quality than streaming, but most people find the streaming quality to be "good enough."

    It's all about the convenience of streaming.
  24. TheBigFatClown

    TheBigFatClown TS Evangelist Posts: 744   +274

    I'm not sure I follow you. The article states that 57.9% of disc sales today are DVDs. That doesn't sound very dead to me. Although, I wish there were a pie chart to show what other discs they are talking about.

    Blu-Ray does probably have the shortest life span because certain technologies can make an older technology obsolete faster. That's something that's hard to predict in advance. Blu-Ray is superior to DVD's of course but the streaming services in the name of convenience (on demand, no local storage, fast high-speed Internet) have made the life of Blu-Ray much less shorter than the first DVD's enjoyed and continue to enjoy. Selling Blu-Ray movie discs at a premium was a mistake.

    Weren't most movies shot at much higher resolutions even when DVDs came out? All they had to do was give the consumers more for the same prices. I'll still take a physical disc to streaming any day of the week. The worst thing in the world is getting ready to stream a movie and not having it work. Probably very rare these days but I think it can happen still.
  25. Bullwinkle M

    Bullwinkle M TS Booster Posts: 136   +71

    The Blu-Ray format is fine

    It's the Slow Read Speeds and DRM Garbage that are obsolete

    I have never bought a CD reader, DVD reader or Blu-Ray reader even once in my entire life

    Every optical drive I've ever had was a writer
    I Never bought a DVD or Blu-Ray movie either

    I do not use optical discs for daily use
    They are Read Only Backups for disasters

    SSD's will lose their data if left disconnected for a few years
    Hard drives will go bad eventually

    Properly stored M-Discs will last 1000 years but I won't need them that long
    I just need a reliable backup without DRM that works on ALL my computers after my drives become infected

    I can read and write Blu-Ray discs in Windows XP / 7 / 8 and 10

    They are needed for that one moment disaster strikes and your drives need to be wiped or replaced

    ALL of my optical drives can read and write Blu-Ray / DVD /CD and have M-Disc compatibility

    When you can create a drive that can be filled, scanned for malware and then WRITE PROTECTED for long term storage (100 years minimum).....Call Me!

    Until then, there is no other medium that can protect critical data for long term storage at the current prices

    Avoid 1X, 2X and 4X speeds and the headaches are minimal
    6X is the minimum usable speed and caches could be improved but...watcha gonna do?

    Without write protection on hard drives, everything can go "poof" by malware or user error and it WILL fail eventually

    I just hope there will be a reliable storage replacement before the optical drives fail
    But that is not the fault of Blu-Ray
    Nightfire likes this.

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