Blu-Ray Is Dying

Blu-Ray Is Dying

It was once the future! A shiny (sort of) new physical media that would let us store so many gigabytes of data on our discs that we wouldn’t know what to do with it all! So it may surprise you to learn that Blu-Ray is already on the downward slide.

Sony’s latest financial results are expected to take a big hit, partly from some shenanigans in the PC business, but also because the company’s investment in Blu-Ray (Sony invented the format) is coming up short. Only eight years after it first hit the market, Sony now admits that “demand for physical media [is] contracting faster than anticipated.”

So demand isn’t just on the decline – only three years after Blu-Ray sales were up by 35% – it’s slipping faster than Sony was ready for. Guess the coming of services like Netflix (and equivalent overseas offerings) have bit harder and faster than even Sony were expecting.

Note that the format isn’t dead. It will be around for a little while yet, both for those who persist with owning physical movie collections and for us gamers, since both the PS4 and Xbox One use Blu-Ray discs.

But for most other folks, once the DVDs dry up the all-digital future might not be as far away as you might have thought.

Earnings [Sony, via The Verge]


  • But for most other folks, once the DVDs dry up the all-digital future might not be as far away as you might have thought.

    It’s gonna be far away for Australians with our Internet infrastructure.

      • Hey, paying 163 bucks per episode for Game of Thrones is totally reasonable. It wouldn’t cost that much if you didn’t pirate all the time.

    • I got alpha access to a game at the start of the recent long weekend. The game was 22gb, downloading on my ADSL1 1.5Mbps connection would have meant that I was only able to play after the long weekend. I don’t have a great deal of time to play games on work nights so the long weekend was a great opportunity.

      So I posted on /r/Melbourne to see if anyone would let me use their internet who was close, and got a great offer from someone who had a 100Mbps connection, he downloaded the game for me and let me pick it up off a portable SSD, all I had to do was donate some money to the Royal Children’s.

      The point is, is that while internet infrastructure like this is common, a digital future is nothing but a pipe dream for many Australians.

      • A lot of trust on a random guy. What was to stop him from keeping the game and using it himself or to leak it?

        I guess it wouldn’t be that much of a problem if our internet wasn’t shit.

        • He had a 7 year Reddit account and I was offering monetary compensation but he declined and just asked me to donate, the original deal was for me to park outside his house and just tag on to his WiFi to download the game, but he was kind enough to do most the work for me. I just figured it all added up to a legitimate stranger, and I was right.

          • The fact you had to go through all of this because internet access sucks is a shame. There was a golden opportunity to get world class internet and now …. bugger.

    • There’s no way in hell they’re gonna keep making discs just for us, when the rest of the world is all digital. They couldn’t give two shits about how slow our internet is.

      • If there’s money in it for companies, they will continue too, but majority of Australians are happy to just download content now anyway! even on copper wire i’m getting like 15mbps speeds and that’s ample, its not the best sure, but its enough

          • Have you informed your telco provider of your poor speeds? ours where terrible initially but we simply let them know and they came and fixed it

      • well it is not just us. Parts of South America and the USA (and Canada too) have net that sucks like ours. Plus people with super high speed connections all over the world still buy physical.

        My point is the global volume is still there easily to make blu-ray and physical worth while by a very long shot.

        I will buy my console games on disc this gen NBN or not. Though I get everything PC digital unless it is console only like MGS.

        • I buy ALL my games on disc, unless they’re digital only like XBLA or PSN. And I wll continue to buy physical media for as long as it’s available.

          My point was, that when physical media dies, and it will, probably in about 6-8 years (more than likely with the start of the next console generation) that they won’t keep making discs just for Australia. It’s just not gonna happen.

          • I agree with you.
            I was expanding that they may have to keep making discs for not just us but other countries next cycle for the same stupid backwards reasons as Australia’s.

    • Technologies in this space are always improving, look at where we were with dial-up all those years ago, just be patient, copper wire isn’t that terrible, read this article, copper wire can be cranked up to about 100mbps, which is an ample speed for any home, just let the techo’s improve it and it will get better overtime

      • That’s cool but there is just one other factor – the copper is degrading year by year and very fast in some areas. So cranking may work when the infrastructure is pristine but what about when it is in bad condition?

        • If a line to your house is poor simply inform your telco company and they will fix it free of charge because they want to keep your business


            Sorry, that was funny. The lines around where I live are shit. God forbid you want to use the net while it rains. Telstra knows how bad it is, but as long as they can just wait out the weather and test when it is dry, or jury rig a shunt in place around a bad spot, they call it fixed. That is standard operating procedure for the telcos, they don’t fix ANYTHING unless they absolutely have to. And then there are people like me who are around or past the 1500m mark, where DSL stops being viable. And all the people on over capacity headends, which have gone unfixed for years.

            Our infrastructure is a joke and our government gutted the parts of the NBN that would have actually fixed the worst part, the last mile.

      • Haven’t travelled much have you. Maybe don’t believe everything the media tells you. You know…the media……the ONLY industry that will tangibly benefit from the NBN.


        • I’m not quite sure what your point is?

          Are you saying we have excellent internet or that copper is the future of communication in Australia?

          Really you think the media is the only industry that would benefit from a FTTP system? Care to explain?

          Thanks for the addition of idiot by the way. Really helps move the conversation along. Not sure what your point was but after you called me an idiot, I would definitely be swayed by your in depth argument.

          Bad day?

  • *reads title*

    No it isn’t.

    Good luck streaming HQ 4K via Netflix. Even 1080p HQ is hard. What’s that, no 8-channel audio ?!?!?

    • Oh shit you’re right! Sony must have made that earning forecast up to annoy you,.

      Not many people own 4K TV’s with 8-channel audio.
      Not many people are going to buy 4K TVs in the near furture and far fewer are EVER going to have an 8-channel audio system. Certainly not enough to counteract the amount of people with 1080p equipped TVs who are bailing on the format in favour of downloadable media.

      Hate to tell you this, but you can’t stream a blu-ray on demand either.

      • They are reducing their earnings forecast because US infrastructure makes medium-quality streaming a reality. Since people are stupid, they’re fine with their stereo medium-quality 720p+ stream of movies. 1080p TV’s and surround-sound is cheap these days, yet people STILL buy DVD’s for some unknown reason.

        Bluray is the only currently viable format that actually gives you the full experience.

        • I would imagine that if you hadn’t experienced it you wouldn’t know what you were missing.

          Most people don’t realise these days you can have a surround sound home cinema with a projector for under 2k.

          • “I would imagine that if you hadn’t experienced it you wouldn’t know what you were missing.”

            I have heard similar about PC vs console gaming and you always hear how PC gaming is dead every few years.
            Some people want the best available and are willing to pay extra for it and others are happy with close enough. I don’t think digital will kill Bluray (yet) but I do think it will make them think twice about new physical formats.

        • I don’t buy DVD’s and I enjoy watching 1080P+ content when I can (My internet is pretty bad), but I personally am not an audiophile nor have cared too much about sound. Sure it’s nice to be in a cinema with 26 speakers all with heavy bass blasting away when a gun is shot, but I’m also pretty happy at home with either my 2.1 speakers or my stero headphones. I don’t think this makes me ‘stupid’.

          Different strokes for different folks.

          • But you gotta realise it’s 2014 and shit is different. Not going to assume, but you talk like one of those people who download shaky cam copies of movies via torrent.

            The film is about the experience. $800 for a TV, $300 for bluray surround sound system. <$1200 gets you something that is comparable to the cinema. You get to sit at home and watch the movie in pristine (well, 4K is better, but 1080p is okay) condition, while having surround sound effects what whoosh around you. You experience the movie as it’s meant to be experienced, and you’re not paying through the nose for it.

            Or, you could be a cam-torrent downloader who watches the latest movies. I know those people – they don’t even watch the movie. They play games or do something else while it’s playing in the background. These people aren’t experiencing the movie – they are experiencing the intake of some random information that they can share with friends in a weird attempt to be ‘hip’ and ‘with the times’, etc.

            It just makes no sense. People buying overpriced $4000+ Sammy TVs, who then stream some medium quality stuff. Like, you’ve already paid the initial investment cost, get the real thing! The real problem is ignorance of the end-user, and terrible money-making tactics by the stores (looking at you, JB, with your constant DVD sales – which should be dead).

          • Man, you’re making quite the mistake here assuming that someone either watches films in the best of the best quality there is or does not care about the movies at all. I think there are enough people who are perfectly happy with having sound effects whoosh in their headphones while watching a movie on their 19″ monitor. You know the real action is in your mind, right? Of course you’ll be stupid to buy a $4000 TV if you don’t care about quality, but otherwise, I can think of tens of things I’d rather spend my money on than on a system and Blu-Rays, which, at least where I live, are ridiculously overpriced in comparison to other formats.

        • You don’t HAVE to stream though.
          You can download in very good quality if you’re happy to wait a bit.

          Just because you know people who watch cam-films (reading your comment below) doesn’t mean that the blu-ray market is dying for that reason.
          You’ve made a few very broad assumptions about “stupid people” and used them to paint the entire marketplace. I think the blu-ray market and the illegal cam “market” (if you can call it that) are actually very different.
          People who watch cam-recorded films are damaging the cinema industry, blu-ray is being damaged by legal and illegal downloads of blu-ray available films.

          I have a blu-ray player and a good (2013) 1080p capable TV with a 5.1 system.
          I NEVER buy anything on blu-ray. I can download digitally at 1080p and while it’s not streaming it’s certainly no less convenient then getting off my ass and going to the shops.

          I’m not “stupid” and neither is the majority of the market. I don’t buy blu-ray’s because they’re inconvenient, expensive and I have to store them somewhere like my 100’s of DVD’s that I don’t ever watch anymore.
          In 5-10 years time it’s far more likely that my device of choice will support my digitally owned copy of a film than it will a blu-ray, and even if it doesn’t it’s dirt cheap to download a newer (digital) copy of an old film.

          • You can download in very good quality if you’re happy to wait a bit.

            Where? Unless you’re talking about pirating it. I dont know of any legal place where you can JUST download a digital copy of a movie with perpetual rights.

            The only legal way is blurays, which are physical, and unfortunately if you buy them you gotta store them. 🙁 FYI I just $1 rent mine.

  • Will there even be another physical media? Once/If 4K movies become the standard will we need discs or will streaming and downloading be the main form for watching videos? I know Netflix had 4k streaming for House of Cards season 2.

    The last blu ray I bought was Avengers and only have 20 something (mainly older movies).

  • In a way, HD-DVD killed BluRay, or at least handicapped it. If BluRay had come on the scene unopposed as the successor to DVD, I think uptake would’ve been a lot quicker. But the dragged-on uncertainty brought about by the format war pushed the BluRay’s opportunity forward a few years, shrinking the gap between DVD and the inevitable move to digital distribution.

    • I somewhat disagree. I think Blu-Ray was a side-show.

      Think about media formats – the cassette offered huge amenity over the LP with its portability (arguably a lot of people stuck with LP for the sound quality) and flexibility.

      It was superceded by the CD which offered better sound quality, similar portability, better capacity and eventually re-writable functionality

      The Video Cassette was king through the 80s to the late 90s when DVDs took off. arguably the big thing which attracted consumers to DVDs was the special features! DVDs not only were more compact and stored more but they added functions that we never knew we needed!

      All a Blu-Ray is, is a bigger DVD! The average consumer doesn’t give a flying fig about resolution so to most people the DVD appears to do the same thing as the Blu-Ray which never had anything to distinguish it from its predecessor.

      I predict the PS4/Xbone are going to hit a similar wall after they’ve burned through their early adopters – games look nearly identical to their older generation predecessors and there is little in the way of features to distinguish them for the mass audience

      • I would agree if it wasn’t for the fact that consoles suffer from what I call “MS OS Syndrome” where formats are literally abandoned about 1-2 years in of a new system. Most companies will literally just stop making “last-gen” games and everyone eventually gets “forced” on the “current gen”.

        PS2 was the only anomaly to this console trend mostly because it was just that insanely successful compared to the other competitors of its gen.

        • Somehow I think PS3 and 360 are following a similar trajectory to the PS2 in fact by 2007 PS2 was solid kids game territory.

          What helped the 360/PS3 in this regard was that the PS2 versions were notably inferior – remember how The Force Unleashed had rag doll physics on the newer consoles but just pre-rendered animations on the older machines? That’s the sort of difference that drives take-up on the new consoles.

          So far it hasn’t manifested itself MGSV looks identical on all consoles, Titanfall has been the top selling game for four weeks in the UK only interrupted by Infamous for one week – yet there are more PS4s in the wild – that means most of those sales are on 360 which sports a near-identical version.

          If Watch Dogs turns in a crap version on last-gen then I’ll certainly wait until I have a new console but given what they’ve done with Splinter Cell Blacklist I reckon the 360 version will be just fine!

    • Absolute rubbish. The format war this time was extremely short lived.

      HD DVD was released in the USA on April 18, 2006. Warner Bros announced it would stop supporting HD DVD on January 4, 2008 and many other companies followed suit.


  • Oh yeah, I love the idea of buying a move that I can watch until the service provider decides to stop hosting it…
    Games are a bit different, how many people are ‘realistically’ going to be replaying Dark Souls 2 in 10-20 years? Compare that to rewatching a movie you liked from 10-20 years ago..

    Obviously there’s exceptions (eg. I still love playing my SNES games) but that’s why lots of people like myself still fight for physical and/or DRM-free games.

    • “Games are a bit different, how many people are ‘realistically’ going to be replaying Dark Souls 2 in 10-20 years?”

      Mark Serrels? There’s 1 at least.

    • The thing is that it’s going to exist on the server for a lot longer than a hard copy is going to be in working condition or at an acceptable picture quality.

      Most movies that you love you’ll end up re-buying down the track (when they’re dirt cheap) on an updated video format that’s compatible with the tech of the day. Getting something off Netflix is FAR more likely to be watchable on your technology of choice in 15 years time than any physical media is going to be.

      Nobody who loved National Lampoons Vacation in 1985 is glad they bought it on VCR because now they’ve got a hard copy. It looked like shit on VCR so they re-bought it in the late 90’s as a $5 DVD which was then replaced by a 1080p download in 2012.
      That Avatar blu-ray you bought in 2012 in going to be available in a 4K (or whatevers after that) download for $2 LONG after you’ve unplugged your old blu-ray player from the TV.

      • Nope, Actually modern films aren’t going to be available in 8k, because they’re going to look like shit. You can’t upscale digital without massive picture loss. It’s not like analogue where they can rescan the film in and get more detail. 2k films look shit in 8k, every pixel is 8x larger. Show me a 640×480 picture upscaled to a 2560×1920 image, that looks good to see what I mean. It’s not going to happen, and it’ll be expensive as hell to upscale if they do pull it off. NHK in Tokyo had an 8K display setup two years ago when I was in Akihabara, live streaming the Olympics opening.

        • That’s fine, but it doesn’t mean that buying a hard copy of a film is ever going to be some kind of long term investment.

          Films don’t appreciate in value, especially these days where hard copies of things are rarer and rarer.
          Short of some kind of massive world altering event (in which case we’re going to have far more serious issues) the films that are available digitally now and going to be available still in 50 years time in faster to access, better looking versions that are going to be dirt cheap.

          Like I said, the vast majority of people who want to watch Avatar in 2020 will just grab it off anywhere as a 50c download rather than digging up and plugging in a old blu-ray player.

  • The only issue I have with Bluray movies is the price. $30-$40 per movie (RRP) is still too high after nearly 10 years on the market. Bring them down to the $20-$25 mark and they’ll get more of an uptake again.

    • Just need to stop buying them in Australia.
      Check out UK sites. The same blu-ray region as Australia, and many are pretty cheap.

      • Of course that is an option, however it shouldn’t be. The “average Australian” doesn’t know about importing and regions and all that nice trickery we do.

    • All the blu-rays I own cost me no more than $20 :/ most were between $10 & $15… All bought within Australia too.

        • Agreed. Also the vouchers JB send to their mailing list are also just as good! Thanks to the sales I have 80+ blu-rays haha.

  • Never bought a Blu-Ray in my life, but I download/stream everything in 1080p HQ

    • Same. Think I skipped this format entriely. Went from DVDs in 2K6 to d/l-ing and streaming almost immediately.

  • Well I love my blu-rays. Sure I can DL movies, but the audio and visual quality is just far better on the disc. But hey, if you’ve got the internet cap, and the time to DL 50GB for one movie, then be my guest.

    I usually watch out for the movies I want and pick them up when they drop below $20. I’ve got a healthy collection happening now. And I don’t need terabytes of storage for my videos, which can fail, and I don’t have to miss out and watching movies because the internet is down. And did I mention the quality is amazing? I’m still scratching my head at the move to 2k and 4k. It’s cool I guess but never have I watched anything in 1080p and thought “man, too many jaggies”.

  • Wow… did I skip a generation? I’ve not once watched anything on Blu-ray. By the time the huge price difference between BDs and DVDs came down, digital distribution was viable, and cheaper to boot.

    • I’ve only recently started buying blu-rays, partially because I know I’ll be using my Xbox One for the next 5-10 years so I’m set for awhile assuming the next console doesn’t have a blu-ray drive. From a certain publisher (unsure which ones) you have the Ultraviolent service where you can stream them to any device which has access to an associated app like Flixster. I can’t stream directly to my Smart TV yet, but we can stream our movies on PC and watch through my TV that way, or even stream it on our iPad. I like the fact I can amass a digital library for the future and still enjoy the discs, because I’m sure not going to be regularly streaming HD movies on my current ADSL2+ connection anytime soon.

      Edit: I meant Ultraviolet but fixing the typo now would be poor sportsmanship.

  • They really need to start shipping physical PC games on Blu Ray. No-one likes 4 disc installs

  • Well I love blu-rays. I don’t have the time or the patience to wait for downloads that are usually inferior and I love owning a physical copy of my media.

    They could breath some life in to the format if PC games started shipping physical copies of their games on Blu-ray though, with all these 40 to 50 GB next-gen games, it becomes really annoying to install 3 or 4 DVDs.

  • Pretty much all of my movie and anime collection is on Blu-Ray and I have no plans to stop buying physical media any time soon. My internet struggles with 720p streaming on a good day let alone trying for anything higher.

  • I’ve been a big Blu buyer since its early days. If I want a movie, I want to actually own it. I’m a bit of a collector, I suppose. But then again, I’m one of those people who got incredibly upset at the very sudden disappearance of video stores a couple of years ago. 🙁

  • Don’t you mean, “It wouldn’t cost that much if you did pirate all the time.” ?

  • Hey remember how they said that print media was dead including books…. it might be that way for the US but not for the rest of the world

  • This is why I will keep buying Blu-Ray:

    Captain Jean-Luc Picard: It’s a boyhood fantasy… I must have seen this ship hundreds of times in the Smithsonian but I was never able to touch it.

    Lieutenant Commander Data: Sir, does tactile contact alter your perception of the Phoenix?

    Captain Jean-Luc Picard: Oh, yes! For humans, touch can connect you to an object in a very personal way, make it seem more real.

  • If you want faster internet, simply work harder and pay for a better internet plan, My download speeds in Australia are at about 15mbps ‘on copper’ which is ample for downloading, playing games etc… and thats about $80 a month, dont expect to get the best of everything for cheap, sacrifice some other luxuries for a better internet plan if its really important to you, plus on the upside technologies in this space are only improving and getting better overtime, look at where we were with dial-up all those years ago, compared to where we are now… people are too impatient and want the best of everything now! without taking the time to work for it

    • Ok…. You’re an idiot.

      Firstly you can get those speeds for less, assuming where you live has the correct infrastructure.

      If it doesn’t? Well then it doesn’t matter how much money you have because you’re shit out of luck. You basically take what you’re giving by whichever telco is in the area (And quite likely spend the same as you do) and make do.

      Unless you have a spare couple of million to invest in creating some new infrastructure, paying for a better plan just isn’t an option. Of course there was a heavily politicised infrastructure project designed to alleviate this issue and let people pay for better speeds but some other idiot is doing his best to choke the life out of it.

      Use some of that money to buy some common sense.

      • I’m in a fairly new estate (3-4 years old) the best we get is ADSL. No cable, no NBN, not even ADSL2. Yes, I could afford better internet…actually, faster internet would be much cheaper for me, but unfortunately, that’s not an option. Then again, I’m not a big movie watcher, ADSL is plenty to stream iView and play PS4 online. If I want a movie, I’m happy enough to buy it.

        • I actually just bought a place recently that was on the 1 year rollout plan for the NBN, failing that it’s less than a kilometre from an ADSL2+ exchange.

          Almost as soon as I moved in it got taken off the nbnco website and my ADSL is a fraction of what I should be getting at 7 mb/s.

          Truth is, it’s enough for most of my uses to get by. The only option left to me is rewiring from the MDF, which at a conservative quote is $500 unless something unexpected happens in which case it could apparently balloon exponentially.

          Now I am lucky in that I have been able to choose that as unviable or not worth the effort. However, if NBN rolled down my street I’d be replacing that copper with Fibre so fast it would make my neighbours’ heads spin.

          The argument of spending for your needs would have merit, if people actually had options.

      • In a country that’s as big as Australia with a small population spread so thin, obviously their are some drawbacks and that’s a just a reality, if theirs no infrastructure where you live (which is highly unlikely) then get mobile broadband, sure its not terrific but it will improve over time as technologies in the space develop, the nation has bigger issues to worry about, who cares if you can’t stream movies in 1080p and download heaps of pirated TV shows, that’s exactly right, Tough bloody luck your in the minority, shouldn’t have chosen to live somewhere with no infrastructure if its so important to you!

        • The problem is most of the issues I hear about refer to people in areas within a major city, often in a less affluent area so unfortunately the demand for infrastructure isn’t there.

          Of course when you’re choosing somewhere to live there’s so many variables of which budget can be a major one, sometimes it’s hard to prioritise good internet on top of everything.

          I’m not talking about someone living on a farm in the middle of nowhere, these are people who can hop on a bus to their local CBD.

          As for Mobile Broadband…. It’s so absurdly expensive that it’s impractical for anything beyond internet browsing and emails.

          We wouldn’t have so many complaints about the infrastructure if they hadn’t stopped the solution before it could be completed.

        • Wow…. I guess you are trolling there with that piss obvious suppository of wisdom quote from our Comms Minister.

          • Your talking out of your ass if you think everyone NEEDS high speed internet, its a privilege not a right.

  • I buy and use BluRay media quite a lot for backing up stuff. Part of the problem is that lack of proliferation and subsequently lower cost of blank media. Discs are still relatively expensive, compared to how much DVD’s have come down over time. Also the promises of larger media, up to 120GB+ discs never appeared commercially.

  • See I don’t see much difference between 720 and 1080 (which is good for Xbox one I guess!) and most of the time a 480 DVD looks fine to me!

  • My internet struggles with youtube, and with the NBN dead in the water I’ll be sticking with physical media for a while yet I think.

  • I’m still using DVDs! I own three Blu Ray discs, and have watched zero of them.

    By contrast, I’ve got a DVD collection that cost somewhere in the order of $15,000 to accumulate. I’m in no hurry to see that become obsolete 😛

  • I love me a Blu Ray. Not just for the permanency, or that my Internet can’t stream, or any of that. It’s because I like high quality sound, extras, and the coolness of owning an awesome box-set.
    My Breaking Bad barrel cost $180 (and that was HEAVILY reduced) and I just like seeing it on my shelf. Streaming episodes as I want to watch them just isn’t the same.

  • Full digital is the future but not now, I only own 4 ps4 games and already 1/5 of my memory is gone, chuck in my huge collection of movies and shows and theres just not enough memory in todays tech. Add the fact I have 70s phonelines where I could only get broadband in 2010 and even now i cant have the internet and make a call at the same time with a shaky connection in melbourne not a country town means im happy to buy dvd and bluerays for some time to come.

  • The reason for the decline in Blu-ray sales is not due to illegal downloads or DVD or 4K its solely because of the price of Blu-ray. Every movie I’ve tried to get lately has 3 different versions of it in the one box. Blu-ray,Digital Download and Dvd. And they charge you like $35 for it. If they just released a single blu-ray/ download copy at a fair price people wouldn’t shop elsewhere

  • I played the original Bioshock on the weekend and it was pretty rad! Not relevant to this discussion but I just had to tell someone

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