Are DVDs and Blu-rays Leaving Soon?

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Despite numbers that show disc sales fell 11% in 2014 and the continued dominance of subscription streaming in the electronic distribution sector of business, where is the future of physical media headed to?  What are the competitve threats?

Movie studios would like nothing more than to give up the hassles of manufacturing and distributing physical product and dealing with returns, but the fact remains that selling discs to consumers continues to generate the most money for them, by far. Digital distribution is bringing them incredible margins, I think we will realize that sales will never approach the magnitude of Blu-ray Disc, much less DVD. Netflix and streaming are still growing rapidly but Blu-ray Disc and DVD remain home entertainment’s cash cow. Digital media remains just a small part of the overall business. And UltraViolet hasn’t picked up yet and its numbers are unimpressive.

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Another looming treat to DVD is the talk of Amazon introducing a free video service, supported by advertising. If this happened, Physical media like DVDs, blu-ray and Netflix could be in store for serious challenge… or maybe not. One reason home video took off in the first place is that we wanted to enjoy our favorite movies and TV shows without those bothersome commercials. Consumers didn’t mind paying for commercial-free programming then, and I really don’t see that changing.

The only really big change I see in the not-too-distant future is the emergence of 4K Ultra-HD, which at last promises to bring a true theatrical movie-watching experience to the home. Everything seems to be coming together for 4K, and one reason is that consumer electronics companies are working not just on one aspect of the new technology but on the whole enchilada. It’s not just about a better picture, it’s about partnerships with content providers — a concerted outreach to make 4K available on all devices, from the most elaborate home-theater TVs to tablets and smartphones — and an all-out effort to make the 4K viewing experience quick and easy, despite the much-bigger size of the files and greater bandwidth requirements.

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