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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  • Xyler94 - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    I have an Xbox One at home I use as my blu-ray player. Some have Xbox One S and X systems that can read and play UHD Blu-Rays. If they're not gamers who have a console which can read disks, they'll most likely prefer using a streaming service.

    I bought my parents a UHD Samsung player last year, but mostly for the Blu-Ray drive. They don't own UHD content, even though they do have a UHD HDR capable TV. My mother recently used this powerful box to play her Stargate SG1 collection, which is DVD.

    In short, I believe if people want a disk player, they probably own a console, and if they don't, they're most likely streaming using Netflix anyways. And for the price of a UHD player, you can buy a console. Game and watch UHD content, 2 functions for the same price as a box with 1.
  • HStewart - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    The problem I found with consoles are they are pain to control and quality is not even close to dedicated player most of time - an exception is non 4K UHD movies on Samsung 4k players which I found some disks have issues. Sounds to me like bad quality control by Samsung.
  • Vitor - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    If the console is outputting a digital signal, there should be no difference in quality compared to a dedicated player. The information is the very same. It's up to your sound system and TV to the The digital to analog convertion with high fidelity.
  • Vitor - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    To do*
  • HStewart - Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - link

    Output is not primary issue I have with console, it the ease of use, dedicated players are better at it and also if you go actual Audio Video sites they mention that they dedicated players have better quality, but I am not totally convivence. Especially with my experience with Samsung Players.
  • Vitor - Thursday, February 21, 2019 - link

    Clearly BS. Any PS4 has way more processing power than any so called "dedicated player".
  • mode_13h - Saturday, February 23, 2019 - link

    I don't *want* my player doing anything other than decoding the stream. That said, it needs to have good fast forward and rewind, but one feature I love about Oppo's players is their "Source Direct" mode, which disables all onboard processing. My TV's deinterlacer and motion smoother work best in that mode.
  • mode_13h - Saturday, February 23, 2019 - link

    For a long time, PS3 was one of the fastest, most responsive blu-ray players.
  • mode_13h - Saturday, February 23, 2019 - link

    They made a special remote control for it, too.
  • catavalon21 - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - link

    I have recently upgraded to 4kTV and am mulling options for video. Prefer PC to console, though enjoy both streaming and DVD/Blu-Ray. I have not taken the plunge for a 4k movie player, but streaming isn't going to get me Blu-Ray quality most of the time, so 4k streaming just isn't viable with my current provider. Agree with other posters, in my experience streaming quality is at times inconsistent.

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