It seems that another company is saying goodbye to the Blu-ray format, at least in the USA. Representatives of Samsung informed Forbes that the company does not intend to supply new 4K Blu-ray players this year. According to the website's source, in January the company had plans to create another device of this type. Now, however, the same source confirms that the project has been shelved. What's more, CNET found out that the same applies to devices supporting 1080p resolution.
At first glance, these reports can be surprising. Recent reports seemed to indicate that sales of Ultra HD Blu-ray discs increased by 68% in Q3 2018 compared to the previous year (according to Variety). However, two major companies have already resigned from devices supporting this format - before Samsung, the Chinese Oppo Digital decided to do so, despite the warm reception of the earlier models of this manufacturer (such as Oppo UDP-203).
Although none of these websites have received official information on the reasons for the decision, both sides draw attention to several possible reasons. Although the sales of Ultra HD Blu-ray discs are indeed increasing, the same cannot be said of the disc market in general. Its results were 11.5% worse in the third fiscal quarter than in a similar period of the previous year, which could have raised Samsung's concern. Forbes also points out that 4K Blu-ray discs amount only to 5.3% of the market, while much older DVDs still hold almost 58% of sales. Therefore, the company may have concluded that the battle to stay in such a niche segment is pointless. The more so, because Samsung's players did not support the popular Dolby Vision technology, using HDR10 (or more precisely the original HDR10 version). Few available TV sets support both solutions, which additionally narrows down the already relatively small group of potential buyers.
There is one more reason - perhaps even more important - why Samsung may have considered further investment in Blu-ray players to be too risky. We are talking about services like Netflix, which more and more often enable playback of movies and series in 4K resolution without the need to buy an expensive device. Although the image quality when using these services currently leaves a lot to be desired, the interest in streaming technology (also in video games - video-Project Stream and Project xCloud) is enormous and its further development can be expected. The popularity of these platforms has certainly reduced disc sales in general and it is easy to imagine that for Samsung this was a sufficient reason to give up on Ultra HD Blu-ray players.
It should be noted, however, that it is still too early to announce the end of Blu-ray in general. Subsequent 4K Blu-ray players were presented at the January CES 2019 fair by Sony (X800M2 4K) and Panasonic (DP-UB450, DP-U150). If we recall the aforementioned increase in sales of Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, we must admit that the rumors Blu-ray dying are a bit exaggerated.