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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  • Gunbuster - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    Their current players still spin the disc and output HDMI right? Good for them not playing the same product new SKU game.

    I guess the point of clarification is are they still producing the 2017 SKU? Or is there a warehouse with 100K units collecting dust? Or is it whats left in the retail channel and goodbye.
  • thestryker - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    Assuming nothing has changed since I got my last bluray player Samsung is still making them. I got a player early 2016 model release in mid 2017 that had been manufactured a month or two before purchase.
  • mode_13h - Saturday, February 23, 2019 - link

    Oppo went out of production too quickly. They left quite a bit of money on the table, with a long waiting list they could not get through. Fortunately, I saw the writing on the wall and grabbed a lightly-used one off ebay for not too much markup.
  • quiksilvr - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    The biggest problem I have with it is that most "Blu Rays" come with a DVD and Digital combo and cost way too much money, are riddled with unskippable ads, and at the end of the day still not as convenient. How about a tiny USB device I can just plug into my TV that has the video file? No ads, no trailers, no previews, just plug it in USB and just play. Save time, money, headache, packaging while delivering a better video and audio experience than what you can get with digital (currently).
  • Reflex - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    The cost on that is orders of magnitude above the cost of pressing DVD's or BR's, which literally cost pennies to produce. It would take a miracle of production to bring 100GB of storage in a flash/USB format down to the $0.03-0.10 per disc cost of optical media (cheapest with DVD's, most expensive with multi-layer UHD).
  • Korguz - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    " come with a DVD and Digital combo and cost way too much money, are riddled with unskippable ads "
    huh??? blue ray costs maybe 5 bucks more then the dvd, and includes the dvd as well.. unskippable ads ?? after a few button presses, i can get to the main menu and start the movie no problem...
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - link

    USB will never be as cheap as optical like DVD or Bluray.
  • mode_13h - Saturday, February 23, 2019 - link

    Better still, the USB drive can delete the file, after you've played it!

    Even if it doesn't deliberately do any such thing, the bits on a modern flash drive will probably rot after just a couple years.
  • BigDragon - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    Not a surprise. The industry only just figured out the UHD HDCP 2.2 thing about 2 years ago. 4k TVs and media have been available for much longer, but the HDCP confusion hurt the format significantly. Most people, myself included, have devices that say they support 4K over HDMI but lack HDCP 2.2.

    Personally, I prefer physical media over streaming. FiOS, the slowest fiber money can buy, has buffering and throttling issues when streaming 4K content.
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - link

    Every time I read about streaming in high quality, I see a ton of people having issues. 4k streaming needs just as much handshaking and protocol updates that a lot of currently selling streaming devices (phones, tablets, TV boxes) can't stream 4k from every service. I'm not sure if that is also true for 1080p, I know it was in the past.

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