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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » The Afterlife   » Samsung to quit making BD players

   
Author Topic: Samsung to quit making BD players
Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 7291
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 02-17-2019 10:25 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mashable

Samsung is throwing in the towel on Blu-ray players, in the U.S. at least.

"Samsung will no longer introduce new Blu-ray or 4K Blu-ray player models in the US market," the company told CNET, in response to an earlier report in Forbes.

That doesn't mean you can't still get your hands on a Samsung Blu-ray player — retailers have plenty of older models in stock by the look of it — but if you were holding out for a new high-end player you'll have to go with another brand. As Engadget points out, there were already good reasons to opt for one of Samsung's competitors, anyway. Namely, that Samsung doesn't support Dolby Vision (it uses a different HDR standard).

That kind of competition may have ultimately contributed to the company's decision to pull out of the U.S. market, though Samsung didn't give a reason for its decision. Of course, the biggest hindrance to any company making Blu-ray players in 2019 isn't competing HDR standards, but the ubiquity of streaming services like Netflix. And with 4K content becoming more and more common on these services, physical discs are an even tougher sell.

That said, other tech giants appear to be committed to Blu-ray. Both Sony and Panasonic showed off high-end players at CES, so Samsung's exit doesn't necessarily portend the end of your home theater.

Still, that Samsung — which only just introduced its first 4K Blu-ray player three years ago — has decided to give up on the product is a sign that the tech could soon become a lot more niche.

It looks like the others on this forum who have been predicting that physical media (for the distribution of film and TV to the consumer market) is in decline called it right.

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Scott Jentsch
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1047
From: New Berlin, WI, USA
Registered: Apr 2003


 - posted 02-20-2019 02:30 PM      Profile for Scott Jentsch   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Jentsch   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think Bill Hunt from The Digital Bits put it about right:

It's not the end, but it's the beginning of the end. There's a difference.

We may be marching toward a future where there is no physical media, but I really hope that future is a good long way away!

It's fashionable to proclaim the death of physical media, much like it is for some to proclaim the death of movie theaters. 20 years ago, I didn't think movie theaters would survive for more than 10 years or so...

I have Samsung's first UHD Blu-ray player, because it was the first one available. It's been a solid unit, with very few issues, but it's a pretty basic player with pretty basic controls, and not even a display on the front. It screams basic. The current player that Samsung is/was marketing goes for $300, with a higher-end model for $400 and a lower-end model for $250.

I bought an LG UHD Blu-ray player for less than $100 last year, and it performs just as well, and LG even put a numeric display o the front.

Sony has some decent players that appear nicer than the Samsungs at the same price points, and Panasonic currently has the model for $500 that everyone is interested in now that Oppo went off to concentrate on cell phones.

Dropping their Blu-ray and UHD Blu-ray players means that Samsung no longer has a standalone media player in their line-up. That says to me that, like Oppo, they would rather put all their eggs in the basket of their primary product (LCD TV's) and count on people to use those for streaming, or buy other products, like the Amazon Fire TV, Roku, etc.

While I admit to not being enthused about this news, and what it might mean for the future of physical media, I see it as saying more about Samsung as a company and the choices it's making.

We probably will see the end of physical media, and I will rue that day.

The only acceptable replacement for physical media in my mind is some sort of service (a la Kaleidascape, but more universal) that would provide movies in equivalent video and audio quality for playback by a variety of devices, with the ability to store those movies locally to prevent connectivity glitches from keeping me from the movies I've purchased.

Streaming is fine for TV and the occasional throw-away movie, but that's about it. What is barely acceptable on a 65" flat screen and a soundbar in most people's living rooms doesn't cut it on a 10-foot-wide projection screen in a decent 7.1.4-channel sound-equipped home theater.

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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 8056
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 02-21-2019 03:49 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The death of physical media notwithstanding, part of this might just be that Blu-Ray players are now a mature product. What does Samsung do that, say, Sony or Panasonic do not do just as well? How many features still need to be added to the format? Now that pretty much any new player will do what the average consumer wants done, the Blu-Ray hardware business just becomes a price war. I don't blame Samsung for not wanting to get into that.

It will be interesting to see what the future is for small video distributors. Up to now, it has been possible for them to sell their productions on Betamax/VHS/DVD/Blu-Ray. If physical media do go away for consumers, what happens? Do they need to set up their own streaming services? Does Netflix (etc.) become the gatekeeper for what people can watch? Does it become impossible to actually buy a copy of something and know that it will be available to watch at any time (as opposed to the more transient nature of streaming content)? No doubt, the quality of streamed video will continue to improve to the point where it may become a nonissue, but other questions remain. This will also be a real problem for people who live in areas without fast Internet access (or who want to watch video content on trains, planes, etc.).

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Geoff Jones
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 545
From: Broomfield, CO, USA
Registered: Feb 2006


 - posted 02-21-2019 04:41 PM      Profile for Geoff Jones   Author's Homepage   Email Geoff Jones   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Scott Norwood
How many features still need to be added to the format?
How about a player that goes straight to the start of the movie when I insert a disc and skips all the $*@#ing trailers and warnings and notices???

[Smile]

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12541
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 02-21-2019 05:59 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As when Oppo pulled out. I'm sure they are seeing the graph of player sales and it is heading towards zero. How much are you going to develop on a dying market? That said, as each entity pulls out, it should lessen the slope for those remaining in.

I don't know if we're going to go to a completely medialess world or not but it will definitely be a much lower-media world and the market will react to that accordingly.

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Justin Hamaker
Film God

Posts: 2199
From: Lakeport, CA USA
Registered: Jan 2004


 - posted 02-21-2019 07:11 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm not really surprised by this. I hardly ever buy DVDs any more because they mainly sit on a shelf and collect dust. I probably have something like 250 with a near equal split between Blu-Ray and DVD.

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Lyle Romer
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1393
From: Davie, FL, USA
Registered: May 2002


 - posted 02-27-2019 05:40 AM      Profile for Lyle Romer   Email Lyle Romer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It's probably more of a margins issue than a total sales volume issue. If BD players have reached commodity stage, there isn't much margin on them and there really aren't any features that can create a "high end" player that people will pay a premium for.

Xbox and Playstation have players built in so many people already have a player. Plus, there is no real replacement cycle for standalone players.

For a company like Samsung, it is a far better investment to have your engineering resources working on the next Galaxy smartphone or high end TV. With a TV, there are still things like OLED that people will pay a premium for over the cheapest models available in Walmart.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10820
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 02-27-2019 10:27 AM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Scott Norwood
No doubt, the quality of streamed video will continue to improve to the point where it may become a nonissue, but other questions remain. This will also be a real problem for people who live in areas without fast Internet access (or who want to watch video content on trains, planes, etc.).
Small towns and rural areas are in so much trouble now. That's certainly the case in my part of the country. Fast Internet access and access to entertainment is one of many issues negatively affecting those places. Those locations have far more serious issues, like lack of good job opportunities and social opportunities for young adults. Most of the young people who are able to leave do so and do not return. Public schools in small towns are scraping by due to the declining tax base and general gross inequity between "rich" and "poor" school districts. A bunch of towns here in Oklahoma can't afford to have their own police departments and have to rely on the county sheriff. Fire department service is iffy. In light of those things being able to stream something off of Netflix seems very minor by comparison. But it's one of the quality of life things people in cities and suburbs take for granted. Hell, it's quickly getting to the point where you cannot conduct business effectively without a fast Internet connection.

quote: Geoff Jones
How about a player that goes straight to the start of the movie when I insert a disc and skips all the $*@#ing trailers and warnings and notices???
I am 99.9% certain this bullshit is all the fault of the movie studios. I'm sure they forced the player manufacturers to incorporate the capability to allow movie studios to force a shit-ton of spam onto any unsuspecting viewer. It's one of the things I despised about movie discs made specifically for video rental stores. Those things were brimming with forced spam even worse than the normal retail discs. I ended up renting far fewer discs in response. Now we have only one video rental store left in Lawton. I think it has been over a year since I rented anything there. And I haven't exactly been renting much of anything online either. If the movie isn't already available with Netflix or Amazon for no extra charge I probably won't ever watch it.

Could you imagine if the music industry tried to pull the forced spam crap with music CDs? Oh wait, I forgot. Too many people don't even buy CDs anymore; they transitioned to buying songs one at a time from iTunes years ago. And now the business model is shifting to music streaming services with even lower quality audio. That's not to say they didn't already goof things up on CDs with all the extreme dynamics compression garbage to make everything loud and harsh.

quote: Justin Hamaker
I'm not really surprised by this. I hardly ever buy DVDs any more because they mainly sit on a shelf and collect dust. I probably have something like 250 with a near equal split between Blu-Ray and DVD.
I know how you feel. I have a storage container filled with over 100 DVDs that I haven't watched in years. I wonder how many of them have been affected by laser rot at this point. The re-sale value on most of them is minimal. At some point they'll probably end up in the land fill. Several years ago I helped my cousin Tommy de-clutter his mom's house. She had a big collection of those RCA SelectaVision discs (a fore-runner to LaserDisc). The two disc players she had didn't work anymore. All that stuff went into the land fill.

I still have all my Blu-ray Discs out on a media shelf, but I didn't buy nearly as many of those things as I did DVDs. I started learning my lesson about impulse-buying movies that I wasn't going to watch repeatedly. Most of the movies I did buy on Blu-ray were classics I already owned on DVD. I have purchased very few movies made in the last 10-15 years. Seeing them once at the theater or once on TV was usually enough.

I've never been a fan of buying "digital" (or virtual) copies of movies. There's lots of potential draw backs with that set up. On the other hand stacks of VHS tapes, LDs, DVDs and what not are probably going to be rendered un-playable in the near future. Many new computers (laptops especially) are now sold with no optical disc drives. Players for many older formats, including lots of VHS tape decks have long since found their way to the land fills. The experience of buying lots of movies in a playback format that ends up effectively dying can make a customer pretty hesitant about buying into some new home video playback format or service.

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Scott Jentsch
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1047
From: New Berlin, WI, USA
Registered: Apr 2003


 - posted 02-27-2019 10:56 AM      Profile for Scott Jentsch   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Jentsch   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
How a disc plays is completely up to the studio that had it made. I'm very certain that it's possible for the latest new release on Blu-ray to start playing the movie immediately upon inserting the disc, but they don't.

Especially, Disney, who must think that everyone wants to watch their coming attractions and featured movies before playing the movie that I paid good money for.

Maybe there is some sort of requirement to display the FBI warning beforehand. It wouldn't surprise me.

Studios are in control of this stuff.

They encourage people to forgo the physical media when they make the digital release available weeks ahead of the physical release.

They encourage people to forgo the physical media when they force us to watch commercials before getting to the movie we paid for.

They encourage people to forgo the physical media when they have the tools to add value to the physical media release (e.g. BD-Live), but choose not to.

They are training people to consume their product that they can control better when it's only available digitally. The people who dreamed up DIVX would be downright giddy at the current state of things.

I have only "bought" one or two digital movies, ever. (Not like I actually "own" anything that is on a streaming service)

In contrast, I have more than 400 movies on disc. I don't consider myself a voracious collector, as I usually only purchase titles that I figure I will want to rewatch from time to time, or that have some attractive feature to demo sound or other special interest aspect. Some people I know don't have a DVD/Blu-ray player, while others (even those much younger than me) have incredible movie collections and they buy just about every new release.

$20 is not a lot to spend on a movie, period. That value proposition gets even better when a person compares it other ways to be entertained, the number of people that may enjoy it with you (compared to how much it would cost those people to see the movie in a theater), and the knowledge that when I want to watch that movie, I've got it.

No having to worry about which online service has it this month. No having to wonder if I'll have buffering issues.

Is it convenient to be able to stream a movie? Of course! But nearly every movie I buy on disc has that digital code as well, so it's the best of both worlds, with the least amount of risk.

Netflix has been an amazing disruption to the movie industry. It killed Blockbuster. It continues to be an increasing threat to movie theaters. It has lowered people's value judgement for movies, both in how much they're worth, and the level of quality they come to expect.

Now, the studios want in on the game, so they're building their own services. You want to watch Titanic? Have fun searching through a dozen streaming service providers to find it. Do you prefer to use Amazon Video on your phone? Sorry, you can't watch A Star is Born, because Amazon is in a spat with Warner Bros.

In that amount of time, I could have given you three choices of the versions of Titanic that I have, plus run out to the Redbox to pick up A Star is Born, and had it playing the opening credits.

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12541
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 02-27-2019 12:49 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm an old fuddy-duddy so I do tend to collect the movies I like on some form of media. That said, things like TV shows, I'm more apt to watch via Netflix. Rarely do I watch movies via Netflix or Amazon Video unless I missed it while they were on HBO or Showtime. The content I buy are things that I intend to see more than once.

Where Netflix is handy (more so than disc) is when I'm watching a TV series (right now, The West Wing)...regardless of where I am or what device I'm watching on, it picks up where I left off last time.

The down side of depending on the streaming services is they can decide to drop a series or movie you may like so what you thought was available may not be next month.

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