Question Is the end of DVD/blu-ray players upon us?

Clem_Dye

Distinguished Member
I've been having some issues with my new Sony 800XM2 BR player since I got it last week, and so called my local C&M store earlier today to arrange a swap-out. Whilst chatting with the sales guy, we got onto the topic of how much longer machines will be around. The guy told me that in effect (ignoring Pioneer), only Panasonic and Sony remain in the market place, LG having pulled-out of making players last year, mirroring what Samsung did a few years back. Given recent events, I think the days of getting a machine are becoming numbered.

I was talking with a JL person the other day about getting a price match on a Panasonic UB450 (triggered by Argos dropping the price of the machine from £199 to £149, in order to lear its stock) and in talking, was told that JL has stopped listing LG machines because they can't get any, and have stopped stocking Sony players because they didn't sell well. She then went on to tell me that JL would soon be stopping selling things like BR players and PVRs altogether, because everyone now streams what they want to watch. For now, they would stock Panasonic's range, but nothing else.

Argos is busy clearing its stock, it seems. It no longer lists the Panasonic UB450 or the LG UBK90, flogging off the last of its stock recently for £169 a pop. I've been after an LG machine for my bedroom system and have ordered one from Currys today (which may in itself be a mistake). Stock of machines such as the Panasonic UB820 seems erratic (which, I accept, could well be in part to the Covid-19 pandemic); RS seems to have 'stock erratic' on a number of machines that it lists.

I hope that I'm wrong when I say that playable media has a finite life, and I know that I've aired my concerns before in other threads, but this situation is worrying to me. Like many of us here, I've curated a selection of titles that I want to watch when I feel like it. Pretty much all of the films that I have on disc aren't available on streaming services, and if they are, not only are they poorer, quality-wise, licensing means that there's no guarantee that when I want to watch something again in the future it will be available.

Not only do I have a collection of films, I still have ~600 CDs that I like to listen to. My collection has grown since the first CDs started to be released, and many of my discs are over 20 years old now and are irreplaceable. I'm slowly ripping those to computer, which is a real chore, and I think that I'll have to start ripping my BRs too.

I don't know how much longer we enthusiasts to enjoy our hobby. I'm putting a couple of players into storage, which may well not be a good idea, as components don't always age well, especially capacitors and the glue that's used to assemble the laser mechanisms in disc drives. (That said, I do still have a Panasonic BR player that's 10 years old and seemed to work OK when I got it out of its box recently for the first time in seven years!) I did think that machines would be around for at least another ten years, but now I think that we're looking at just a few. What puzzles me though is that studios have a vested interest in selling their stuff on DVDs and BRs. A lack of players will certainly impact their bottom line. Sony is in a bit of an odd position because it owns studios and makes films. Will Sony be the last manufacturer to offer machines?

There's no real upside here that I can see. I just hope that those players that I have and that I'm dry-docking will last me long enough so that I can enjoy my hobby for some years to come yet. Time will undoubtedly tell .....
 

GoingGoingGone

Distinguished Member
In a word, no.
You seem to have got into a player panic buying mindset.
Don't you have anything better to be worried about?
Like the the covid pandemic, the state of the economy, or climate change....:eek:

Both LG and Samsung pulled out of the market because their stuff was, to put it kindly, crap and as a result didn't sell well. Both Sony and Panasonic each have a range of 4 UHD players covering most price points. CD, DVD and Blu-ray players continue to be made.

Richer Sounds lists 33 CD players with a price range between £119 to £2550. Given that even the cheapest DVD player can also play CDs the market for CD players seems surprisingly healthy.

The time to put stuff into storage is when the remaining players are being sold off in a fire sale.
Advantage of getting them cheaper and also, if they have a limited life, fresher.
 
Last edited:

gibbsy

Moderator
No. There will always be a call for players. Even the best streaming services at 4K can just about match the quality of a 1080 blu ray. People will still buy the hard copy of good films it would take the studios to pull out of physical media to see the demise of players.

Thirty or so years ago people were talking about the death of vinyl. Ten years ago it was the death of CD that was the talking point as more streaming services came on line. A couple of years ago Denon released two stunning SACD players both of which have sold well and people are still willing to pay in excess of £2000 for the Pioneer LX800 4K player.

What does surprise me is the number of people who still buy SD DVD rather than blu ray or 4K discs even though most more than likely have new 4K TVs. I don't think that the studios are doing themselves any favours by keeping the cost of new 4K discs artificially high. Who needs a 1080 disc bundled in with them if you've already got a 4K player and display.
 

Clem_Dye

Distinguished Member
There might still be a call for players, but those are getting less audible. I agree that machines from Samsung and LG are perhaps tier 2 compared to what Sony and Panasonic offer, but you can’t ignore that fact that streaming is the prime focus nowadays. Studios will only release stuff on physical media if the demand is there, but if there are no players there’s no market. The likes of Sony and Panasonic are in business to make money, and when DVD and BR become more niche at some point their business model will no longer support making players. Sony killed off its small Freeview PVR offering, as did Panasonic with its Freesat boxes.

The mystique of going to a decent hi-fi store to audition stuff is long gone, for the most part. A/v gear has been commoditised to the point where you buy a cheap player with your cornflakes from your local supermarket, to watch those low-rent DVDs that you also shoved in your trolley. Margins on electronics are tight at the best of times, which is why manufacturers keep releasing stuff with just marginal improvements over last year’s stuff, which will quickly become unsupported.

I accept that vinyl is no longer niche, and whilst there are plenty of CD players around at present, the onward march of music streaming is having an impact on sales. I recently sold my dedicated Yamaha CD player because a universal player, in my case a Panasonic UB820, gives nigh on the same level of performance. The fact that in the UK, we seem mired in low quality DVD material doesn’t help the cause. If you only buy DVDs from your local supermarket, you have no real requirement for a decent £300 machine. The stupid cost of 4K discs doesn’t help the cause.

I could well be barking up wrong proverbial tree, by keeping a couple of BR players spare in the vane hope of being able to extend my hobby and have access to my library of discs, be they audio or video, when the crunch comes. No manufacturer has released a new player for some time. Panasonic’s latest, the UB450, has simply attacked its own market for the highe-specced UB820 and UB9000.

4K physical media is the last that we shall see, I believe. I want the media and players to be around for a long while to come. It’s my hobby, after all. But wanting something is not the same as being able to have it. If we don’t collectively buy the stuff, then manufacturers won’t produce it. Streaming, in spite of the limited choice and poorer quality, is satisfying the masses. A case in point: the guy that I was talking to today in my local C&M store claims that he hasn’t watched something on physical media for years, and the store doesn’t sell that many players now. JL and Argos are moving away from such sales. They are moving with the times ...
 
Last edited:

GoingGoingGone

Distinguished Member
No manufacturer has released a new player for sone time. Panasonic’s latest, the UB450, has simply attacked its own market for the highe-specced UB820 and UB9000.
The UB150 and the UB450 which both came out at the same time cannot conceivably attack the market for the UB9000. Totally different price point. What the release of these two players did was push the player coverage to a much lower price point in the market to cover all bases.

Initially Panasonic only had two players the UB900 and then around 6 months later the UB700, both costing over £300. In the years since then it has expanded from those two to four (UB300/UB400/UB700/UB900) and stuck at four with new models (UB150/UB450/UB820/UB9000) covering a price range of £150 to £850.

That they haven't released a new player in the last 12 months is immaterial while the existing players continue on sale.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Pioneer have their players on the market for anywhere between three and five years before new ones are introduced and the main reason for the delay in getting the LX500/800 is Covid. It is having a big impact on the production lines for players. It's also unlikely that you'll get much new viewing over the next twelve to eighteen months, again thanks to Covid.

I agree that a lot of people will turn to streaming and no doubt be happy with the image and the sound they get from a TV or soundbar. They may very well not bother to buy a new player or a disc and perhaps that was the market share that both Samsung and LG aimed their cheap players at.

I didn't look at Panny players for the simple reason they do not have SACD capability so went for a Pioneer LX500. You get better images, better colour reproduction and certainly better audio than you get with streaming.

Films do not stay on the streaming sites for ever, even the blockbusters are shelved. Stop paying your subscription and the films are gone anyway. Then you have the spectre of another lockdown with the likes of Netflix and Disney reducing bandwidth to almost unwatchable levels. That will never happen with the good old disc and player.

I'm willing to bet that are far more owners of blu ray or DVD players than there are of owners of a full surround sound system and that market is doing well.
 

dannius

Well-known Member
Whilst maybe not for the enthusiast, don’t forget that both Microsoft and Sony will be releasing very expensive 4K Blu Ray players later this year..
 

Clem_Dye

Distinguished Member
That’s a thought ... As for Panasonic eating its own market, I disagree with the comments above. People that would have maybe gone for a 9000 went for an 820, and those that may have gone for an 820 have gone for a 450. There’s evidence in the threads In this forum. There are differences in quality for sure, but it’s all down to graduations. I have both the 820 and 450 machines and I can see the differences, but to my eyes they’re slight. The 450 is good enough for me, and, had it been around when I bought my 820, I would have gone for a 450. The same applies to both the Sony X700 and 800M2 in my book.
 
Last edited:

MartinH32

Well-known Member
Totally agree OP and have been thinking this too. I've well over 1000 movies on disk and probably the same number of CD's. I find streaming quality poor in the whole (I'm on a projector on a big screen) and I think when the day comes that disks and players aren't available will be the end of my hobby which I've had for nearly 30 years. It's a hobby because I like the quality of presentation and I'm happy to pay for that rather than the more accesible but lower quality solutions . Having tried streaming on Apple, Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon whilst some are better than others they don't compare to a good physical disk. I'm also concerned about putting my money into an 'online' collection only for the company I've purchased them with go out of business, or my internet go down. The disk, in my hand is MINE.

I think it's only a matter of time before the likes of Panasonic also pull out of player manufacturing. No point if the need isn't there.

I also don't think the pandemic has done any favours to the industry - how many 4k disks have been released recently? If those movie companies releasing disks over the past four months have seen an increase in the sale of digital then why should they go back to physical media. They all want us on a subscription.
 

k-spin

Active Member
The Elephant in the Room....;)
As long as there are gamers there will be a 4K player available.
The PS5 is coming in two versions: one with an optical drive and one without. Will be interesting to see the price difference and which one is more popular. There's also rumoured to be a digital only (i.e. no optical drive) next generation Xbox on the way called "Lockhart".
 

stasis

Active Member
I also share the concerns for the future of players and physical media.
I have a prized collection of SACD DVD-A and bluray music discs and movies.
Streaming is a no brainer for most people and more and more people are signing up for it.
£8.99 a month for Netflix gives access to a lot of entertainment.
The artificialy high pricing difference between DVD Blu-ray and 4K does nothing to encourage the buying of quality physical media.
Although I am an enthusiast for quality media I am also price sensative and dislike being taken for a ride.
It is not uncommon to see the same disc at £5 for DVD, £15 for Blu-ray and £25 for 4K.
I find this ridiculous and and without justification. To me it is as absurd as charging extra for stereo on a music format or colour on a movie format.
I have a projector and a LG OLED and it is surprising how decent a good DVD can still manage to look.
To think that the general public are willing to pay over the odds for 4K discs is wishful thinking.
I have 2 Sony BDPX800 players and I am on the look out for another universal player.
Apart from the lack of display I regard the Sony highly and great value for money.
I also have a faulty Oppo BDP 95 that I am looking for a replacement for and I it has made me wonder when a new universal player will be available.
Hopefully a new player will come along soon but when most manufactures stop making a product it shows the writing on the wall.
 

Trollslayer

Distinguished Member
Whilst maybe not for the enthusiast, don’t forget that both Microsoft and Sony will be releasing very expensive 4K Blu Ray players later this year..
Microsoft?
Why would they do that? Plus they don't have experience of the video processing required.
 

mtenga

Distinguished Member
I also don't think the pandemic has done any favours to the industry - how many 4k disks have been released recently? If those movie companies releasing disks over the past four months have seen an increase in the sale of digital then why should they go back to physical media. They all want us on a subscription.
Its not only that they all want us on a subscription but people also prefer to be on one in the main. Considering a month of Netflix is around a tenner and the latest UHD disc 25 it’s not surprising. So with most disc playing manufacturers already gone and decreasing sales of physical media it is now a niche pastime rather than mainstream. The quality of streamed material can only get better over time but discs, and something to play them on, will probably be around for a good few years yet even if just as a minority hobbyist pastime which I’ll continue to be part of.
 

sebna

Member

anlygi

Active Member
If that day comes, I sure will buy a few players. I have said myself, 4K is the end of the road for me in terms of physical media. I don't care if 8K becomes a thing, I will not be going down the road of another format. If I go against that, I will not be rebuying my favourite films a 4th or 5th time, it will be new releases from that point on.

Also whilst people are mentioning LG and Samsung pulling out of the market, with players not rated against the competition, you also have to remember that the previous player of choice at the higher end, Oppo, also stopped making players (if anyone mentioned them, I missed it sorry)... Companies are in business to make money and should their players stop making them money or even just 'enough', they will stop making them. Shareholders don't care about sustaining a market for us AV geeks! After the next gen consoles are released, that I feel will be maximum market for 4K Blu-ray. It's been around long enough now that anyone who cares about it will have it I feel, unless we see a massive drop in media prices. Yes I paid £30 for DVDs in the late 90s, but that was a time when there was no 'close enough', far cheaper and far more convenient alternative. I am going for a disc PS5, not for 4K Blu-ray, but because I'm not yet ready to be at the mercy of digital pricing for new releases.
 

Clem_Dye

Distinguished Member
An interesting mix of responses thus far. It’s a fact that technology will always continue to advance, which generally is a good thibg. It’s such a shame that it causes so much collateral damage along the way. We’ve all invested time and money as part of our hobby at the behest of the manufacturers, only to be dumped at the roadside when the next new thing comes along. But the loss of physical media playback is different this time. We won’t be able to vote with our plastic, because when no-one makes players any more, we’re faced with Hobson’s choice: streaming.

I did wonder if perhaps studios might move to downloadable versions of their titles, negating the need for players and media, in longer term. After all, it’s possible to do that now with certain titles. I’ve never tried it, and have no idea what the quality is like, but that would work for me if I could be guaranteed the same quality, both for picture and sound. DRM rears its ugly head though.

Some things do seem to stand the test of time, it seems. If you bought a Tri-ang train set in the late 1950s or early 1960s, the rolling stock will still work on the latest Hornby set-ups. I wish that I’d kept my Tri-ang stuff, including the boxes — it would be worth a fortune today, unlike my collection of antique DVDs.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
A typical HD blu ray has 20mbps of information. Netflix output of UHD material in HDR is 15.25mbps. It has a long way to go to catch up with HD discs let alone UHD material. I think almost everyone saw how poor some programmes were when the companies cut back on bandwidth due to the need for them to make more profit, sorry, I'll reword that. When they cut back bitrate because of Covid.
 

mtenga

Distinguished Member
A typical HD blu ray has 20mbps of information. Netflix output of UHD material in HDR is 15.25mbps. It has a long way to go to catch up with HD discs let alone UHD material. I think almost everyone saw how poor some programmes were when the companies cut back on bandwidth due to the need for them to make more profit, sorry, I'll reword that. When they cut back bitrate because of Covid.
That maybe today but the technology infrastructure and quality of streaming is only going to improve in the years to come. Netflix cut bandwidth in Europe following a request from the EU. They did not cut bandwidth anywhere else in the world.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
That maybe today but the technology infrastructure and quality of streaming is only going to improve in the years to come. Netflix cut bandwidth in Europe following a request from the EU. They did not cut bandwidth anywhere else in the world.
How far is this country behind the rest of Europe for broadband speeds. My friends that live in the Brecon Beacons cannot even get 1mbps and some days no connection at all. As far as Netflix were they still charged full rate for a third rate service in the UK when the ISPs said they was plenty of capacity. Profiteering????

If you look at BBC iPlayer, if you can bear to look at the iPlayer it's dismal. Things do move on fast, much faster than the UK's fibre network can keep up with and the UK may be the only country in Europe to still be selling DVDs.
 

mtenga

Distinguished Member
My friends that live in the Brecon Beacons cannot even get 1mbps and some days no connection at all.
Well at least they have the scenery for compensation!

The universe is expanding and one day it will be all over for us all. But that is not for a while yet and between now and then technology is going to improve exponentially. Just think what Amazon streaming was like five years ago. The improvement in streaming quality is guaranteed, even if not this year or next.

I agree Netflix should have cut the price as compensation for reduced service over that period as a gesture and did themselves no favours. But the reduction in bandwidth was essentially forced.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Well at least they have the scenery for compensation!

The universe is expanding and one day it will be all over for us all. But that is not for a while yet and between now and then technology is going to improve exponentially. Just think what Amazon streaming was like five years ago. The improvement in streaming quality is guaranteed, even if not this year or next.

I agree Netflix should have cut the price as compensation for reduced service over that period as a gesture and did themselves no favours. But the reduction in bandwidth was essentially forced.
I subscribe to both Netflix and Prime and both are capable of some very good PQ. Prime to me does suffer from some very poor SQ on times, The Man in the High Castle is very poor, especially dialogue. Even after watching UHD and HDR presentations on either of them I'm still amazed at how good HD blu ray looks, often even better, on my 65'' OLED with a Pioneer LX500 delivering the goods.

What makes it worse for my friends in the Beacons is that they live under Garn Ddu at the bottom of the valley and get no terrestrial TV at all and are stuck with Sky satellite only.

You are right about the scenery, stunning.
 

mtenga

Distinguished Member
I'm a disc lover and last night was watching a bluray on my disc player and not Netflix. But I can see the direction in which things are going. Before long those buying discs will be no different than those buying vinyl today. No more than a niche, of which I will probably still be one. Reduction in sales of discs and takeup of streaming services show that.

We all know eventually people stop milking the cow themselves and buy the milk from Tescos instead. Things just move forward as technology does, particularly digitally, and the future has a long way to run. So talking about today's quality of streaming is just a snapshot that will move forward quickly. More quickly in countries like Korea than GB unfortunately, but there you go.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: TCL C815 TV, Denon & Huawei wireless speaker reviews, New Sony 4K PJ's and more

Trending threads

Latest News

McIntosh announces C8 Tube Preamplifier and MC830 Solid State Amplifier
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Denon DHT-S416 soundbar its first with Chromecast built-in
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
PS5 launches 19th Nov in UK for £450
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
AVForums Podcast: 16th September 2020
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published
BenQ launches V6050 and V6000 ultra short throw laser projectors
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Top Bottom