What just happened? After introducing the industry’s first Blu-ray player 13 years ago, Samsung has confirmed that they are exiting the market in the U.S. and won’t be releasing any new Blu-ray hardware in the near future.
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.