Even though Blue-ray sales are up, 4K streaming technologies will likely overcome Blu-ray in 2018.
Industry magazine TWICE spoke with executives from Samsung and Sony about the future of Blu-ray. The hardware makers see a bright future for physical discs — and they certainly had numbers to back up their optimism. The sale of Blu-ray players doubled in 2017 and the sale of Blu-ray discs grew eight-fold.
Discs are currently the go-to option for the purists who want the absolute best in video quality. Uncompressed Blu-ray video doesn’t have to battle for bandwidth on home networks and cable internet connections.
For 99% of consumers, however, convenience is king. After streaming services add more 4K content to their on-demand libraries, it stands to reason that there will be less of a demand for Blu-ray.
Hulu introduced ultra high definition on-demand streaming at the end of 2016. Now, all Hulu original content is shot in 4K.
Amazon Prime Video has a vast supply of on-demand 4K videos in its library. In addition to Amazon Originals, its 4k titles include movies like The Arrival and TV shows like Victoria.
Netflix also creates its original programming in 4K and has an extensive library of ultra high definition movies. Unlike Amazon and Hulu, however, Netflix does not include 4K as a standard part of its subscription. You have to pay an extra $3 a month for the premium plan to get 4K.
Expect to see live 4K TV to become a standard feature on more streaming services soon. DirecTV Now has already announced plans to add 4K channels to its live TV streaming service this year.
Chris Casper is a former tech industry product manager who escaped from California for New Mexico. Now he writes about science and tech while searching for the perfect green chile sauce.