March 31, 2012 – 10:43 am


“Blu-ray is no longer a selling-point. That was the straightforward analysis of Samsung’s AV product manager at the company’s 2012 European product launch earlier this year. “The fact that a Blu-ray player plays discs is now a secondary feature,” he said. It’s the most obvious admission yet from the industry that the future of DVD and Blu-ray - and the software disc in general - is now in serious doubt.

As sales of discs plummet, it’s all too easy to see DVD and Blu-ray being replaced by downloading and streaming alternatives, as recently released figures suggest. At the end of 2009, hi-fi stalwart Linn announced it would stop making CD players. It seems only a matter of time before more of the big names in AV officially follow suit. What then for the disc?

In 2011, Blu-ray and DVD sales fell by 7.2 per cent, while downloads and digital rentals increased by 12 per cent. It’s estimated that the top 10 DVDs in 2007 cumulatively sold 105 million copies - in 2011 it was 42 million. The shift in consumer spending and habits is already taking place and having a knock-on effect for retailers, manufacturers, the film industry and more.”


“Samsung’s focus for 2012 was the company’s Smart Hub of streamed content, with its Blu-ray players cutting a more compact profile and being sold as ‘Smart TV boxes’. Other brands have already taken this a step further, removing the disc drive altogether.

Smart TV boxes connect you to streaming video services such as Netflix, Lovefilm or Sony’s Video Unlimited, giving you your on-demand TV and movie fix in subscription or rental form - without a disc in sight. Philips’ new HMP2000 is set to retail for just £50, and will come loaded with access to Netflix, YouTube and catch-up TV services, while the likes of Apple, Boxee and Sony already have similar devices.”


“But, the switch to streaming won’t be plain sailing. Korean broadband companies have already threatened to throttle broadband delivery as a result of smart TV streaming. They have the best broadband provision in the world, yet they’re screaming that they don’t have the infrastucture to cope with the bandwidth demands caused by the prevalence of Smart TVs.”

Read the full whathifi editorial here.

So Blu-ray and 3D look dead in the water, at least where the physical disc is concerned. Are you looking forward to a “disc-less” future? No more nightmares looking for that missing disc. No more worries about mishandling your precious gold-plated audiophile, ultra-expensive, limited editions. Everything being just a “click” away.

What could possibly go wrong?

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  2. Giving up hard inventory means giving up control, folks. BEWARE THE CLOUD!

    By madbaddad on Mar 31, 2012

  3. I’ll believe broadband transmission will be as good as disc when I see it or hear it. I haven’t yet. I stll have my original Samsung Blu-ray, the first player availablein the states, and while it takes a lifetime to load, it looks and sounds better than anything else I play movies or music on, save perhaps the trusty turntable for vinyl.

    By ter-jack on Mar 31, 2012

  4. they said it was the end for vinyl

    By paul on Mar 31, 2012

  5. I like having the physical disc, at least as a backup. I forget what I have when it’s only on the computer or in a cloud.

    By Phil on Mar 31, 2012

  6. nothing will ever beat the old 8track.. lol.
    oh how i miss when it used to interrupt a song and do that clickety clack thing and then continue the song just when i was getting into the groove. ahh those were the days. sigh.

    every 20 or so years they will come up with something new to push down the throats of people who are stupid enough to accept it and who have to have the newest thing. this is better than what u have. hurry and buy this and be the first on your block til we stop making this so u have no choice but to buy that and then u will have to conform etc etc.

    look at what theyre charging for vinyl now. how many times did they push the same album on people in differing variations be it remastered this and half speed mastered that and gold disc this and directors cut that and blu ray this and special edition that greatest hits this with bonus tracks that and new improved now in 3d this and now rerecorded with new lead singer that. no matter what they do even if its a format change or an upgrade of one kind or another they will always find an audience who will put up with it and shell out their money. they complain about it and go after the pirates and bootleggers and counterfeiters and blame them for the reason prices are higher on official product and have no clue or at least claim they have no clue about the real reason that sales are dwindling. mind boggling. maybe people are getting tired of being screwed with.

    By darth on Mar 31, 2012

  7. In the last year i found back to cd an my old vinyl. Gotta have something in my hand!
    Hope it will some more time

    By Rioo on Apr 1, 2012

  8. I can see the reasoning, they are making provisions as madbaddad claims to take control. Right now, if you put hard “product” out there, it can easily be ripped and replicated for eventual posting online. They probably figure if they only have sole control of the downloads they then can eventually encode it with DRM, see where it came from if shared and prosecute. It’s one form of physical elimination that can benefit protection of their “product”. Also, as you know, friends borrow libraries of CD’s to import into their iTunes or you can get cheap cd’s at yard sales for the same purpose. If you eliminate the product, they are protected from this form of piracy on many levels…

    By Woodstock on Apr 1, 2012

  9. Has anyone considered the cost to the music fans who want to enjoy their hobby?
    I have vinyl, tapes and CDs in my collection, many of which I can’t play because the machinery is old, broken down and expensive to fix because parts have become obsolete! To upgrade means buying yet another machine to play the newt new fad and how long will it be before the format of the day changes again? As technology advances, these changes are going to become more frequent. Are the grass roots music fans going to be able to afford to keep up?

    By Daij on Apr 1, 2012

  10. the end on vinyl! the end of cd! the end of dvd! the end of blue ray! we have heard it all before we just have to wait and see

    By barrie on Apr 1, 2012

  11. I’m just wondering if this isn’t some sort of Trojan horse where entertainment means paying only for access and never for actual ownership. Even in the physical world we have lost whole sections of classic films and historical footage only to find them in hidden private collections (the recently restored “Metropolis” being one example. If nothing is permanent or ends up being significantly restricted, does the possibility arise of it being lost forever?

    By Tony on Apr 1, 2012

  12. After hauling around 1000s of albums, tapes, then CDs for close to 50 years, I finally had to (begrudgingly) move much of my music to a music server. And, much to my surprise, if done correctly, the sound is great & the convenience is unmatched (and isn’t “convenience” what it’s all about, anyway?).
    Just remember to backup.

    By tajackson on Apr 1, 2012

  13. Convenience vs. Control. Sounds like a main event at Wrestlemania!

    By TDC on Apr 1, 2012

  14. The Baby Boomers were the largest music buying generation ever. Probably the largest for movies too. We have been through all the changing formats and proudly haul around our collections and equipment. But as Boomers stop buying the same old recycled collections offered by the media giants they have to target a new audience. And they have been grooming them for it. Younger generations are still living at home or apartment hopping, couch hopping. Their collections need to be portable. They’ve given up quality for easy access. They buy songs instead of albums. Movies are shown on TV almost as soon as they are released at theaters. If they can sell you something that doesn’t physically exist they will make more money. But if movies and music weren’t profitable they wouldn’t bother to make them in the first place.

    But I know our infrastructure is not ready to provide this instant gratification. Perhaps the media giants should invest in that instead of leaving it all up to the phone companies. Heck-The people who live in the canyon behind me have no power or phone lines. Just recently got cell phones & satellite TV but still use propane refrigerators & kerosine record players. Metropolis is not everywhere just yet.

    By sking on Apr 2, 2012

  15. I`ll still hang on to my collection of horror dvds from 1930`s to late 1960`s just as I held onto my lps.

    By sluggo on Apr 2, 2012

  16. New world…new technologies…

    By Rochacrimson on Apr 2, 2012

  17. The cloud can go poof!!!

    By sfirical on Apr 2, 2012

  18. I’m getting tired of the all-or-nothing style of marketing. Just because some people don’t buy movies or music on disc anymore, does not mean that no one does. In fact, many will be forced to do without if companies stop making physical product. I think it’s cool that we have the technology that allows downloading or streaming music and movies now. But I have never experienced a downloaded or streamed movie, myself. The only clouds we have here have snow in them. Just because these companies can eliminate discs, does not mean they should. I know for sure the USA does not have the broadband speed for this stuff. If Korea can’t handle it with their bandwidth, we for damn sure can’t. They’re getting ahead of themselves in their rush to sell us nothing for something. I have never even seen a Blu Ray movie. Regular DVDs look good as far as these eyes can tell. I would have to have proof that Blu Ray was significantly better than DVD before I would fork out hard-earned money for a Blu Ray player. I don’t know what ‘Smart TV boxes’ are, but I know for a fact that TV well and truly sucks, and there’s nothing smart about it. If you want to sell me something, bring the quality. If you want to fuck us all, at least kiss us first.

    By aking on Apr 2, 2012

  19. I enjoy the collection process, ie finding classic material and being able to watch or listen to it at my “beck and call”. I don’t like the thought of the loss of control that eliminating the hard copy would bring. Long live vinyl and tape and plastic!

    By Tom Billings on Apr 2, 2012

  20. Coming soon!! The RF chip implant…Never leave home again!

    By NAMoosedog on Apr 2, 2012

  21. bye bye digital media, long live vinyl!!!!

    By a real mf on Apr 2, 2012

  22. I’m not trying to brag, but I saw this coming as soon as Blu-rays came it- I knew that this would be the last of physical media. The pluses for rights-holders are so many; between being able to “clamp down” (at least in their views) on control of piracy better, to not having to press, ship & warehouse physical media- it’s all to the benefit of producers. Bigger profit margins & no inventory- why WOULDN’T sellers go to a virtual market?

    By Jeff B on Apr 2, 2012

  23. Give me the physical LP, CD, DVD. Technology is cool, but sometimes old school is better!

    By Dennis on Apr 2, 2012

  24. Technology is changing so fast these days. In the analog age things improved but the basics stayed the same. You had your stereo amp, speakers and records. Not anymore. My favorite shop that sold high end stereo equipment was forced out of business by the chain stores selling cheap I Pods and DVD players to the kids. As Sking stated earlier, the younger generation is willing to sacrifice sound quality for portability. For the entertainment industry to be able to sell a product (music or movies)at a price they set and not have to stock inventory is the capitalist dream. I also believe they will use the new technology to find ways to control piracy at the same time. Change, they say, is inevitable. Cloud computing is here and you can now purchase a 3D printer if you have $1,500 to spend. For me, I prefer listening to music as it was meant to sound and holding that physical CD or LP in my hand. I’m very selective as to what I buy now and will be even more so in the future.

    By Mackster on Apr 2, 2012

  25. For decades I was a vinyl and CD junkie, but no more. I no longer care to own a bunch of stuff. I sold my entire vinyl collection years (including some mega rarities) and most of my CD collection too. And I feel great, because I’m no longer lumbered by all that stuff.

    I still by physical CDs occasionally for select artists (independent micro releases predominantly)because of the better sound (I use MP3 but not FLAC for my digital listening).

    No more physical discs for movies? No problem for me.

    By kingpossum on Apr 3, 2012

  26. rented the u.s. version of “girl with the dragon tattoo” out of a red box kiosk over the weekend. it was on a sony dvd-R. how much bandwidth can there be? what happens when the copyright police take all your hard drives? it’s possible. but then, is it really important?

    By rick harper on Apr 3, 2012

  27. The transformation is inevitable, but for me something “solid” will always exist, although probably just as a niche in the market. I mean, vynils still exist after all, don’t they? I like downloads but I still prefer dvds and even my old lps, they still sound better, “warmer” to me. Putting everything out there in the cloud? hmm, that’s what’s happening but I’m not totally convinced…

    By frank capra on Apr 3, 2012

  28. I like my discs, too but it is easier to store all my music on an ext HD. For the car, just load up the iPod or MP3 players and plug in. I’ll find it easier to let go of discs (and prior, cassettes) than LPs because the LPs had something more to them…the artwork, etc. You could check them out and read them while listening or before purchasing in the store. And you could roll on them ;)

    By steve22 on Apr 3, 2012

  29. I’m an old record dude. I lament the death of physical media, but by the same token I love the fact that I can store so much into a space the size of a book. You can’t be in your 50’s and not appreciate that, especially if you’ve hauled around as much vinyl, tapes and video as I have over the years. I’ve got maybe 20 real good years left, and I’ve finally come to the realization that I should spend more time listening to my music and less time lifting it.

    By Tom L. on Apr 4, 2012

  30. i agree with tom L, listen to what you have, not much need to buy more on ever newer formats. It’s good for the environment too if we can just stream or store in a cloud

    By Liam NSW on Apr 4, 2012

  31. There`s already the option of pay-tv which offers you a big variety of movies,music etc. in a good merchandise-free quality.But that`s not the same as a DVD or Blueray for your collection.I need something to put my hands on which I can give away as a present,sell or keep as my personal treasure(by the way,same with CDs).

    By S. Boy on Apr 4, 2012

  32. Maybe it’s a generational thing, but - if it’s something I treasure, I have to have a physical copy. I can’t tell you how many hours of pleasure I had as a young man, going to record stores, browsing through the bins, picking up the records and reading the covers. I still have hundreds of LPs that I can’t bear to get rid of. Picking up the record cover, reading it, even pulling out the LP itself and looking at it - all brings back memories of the music itself, where I was when I first heard it, etc., all of which I treasure. It’s the same with CDs, even if the format is smaller. With music I download, even if I listen to it on my computers first, once I decide it’s a “keeper” i must burn it to a CD and create a cover so I have it in physical form. To me, the tactile pleasure of having a physical copy of music that I treasure cannot be replaced.

    By MrBill on Apr 5, 2012

  33. Sure it’s the end of an era. And the beginning of a new one. Who knows what tomorrow may bring? I’m still buying Vinyl and CDs. I’m still downloading and burn some on disc. Cheers Tony

    By Tony Lauber on Apr 5, 2012

  34. i just threw away a bunch of unused vhs and cassette tapes. the places that take donations don’t take them.

    By wdup on Apr 6, 2012

  35. End of disc - download what you want and forget paper and disc


    (=’.'=) This is Bunny. Copy and paste Bunny into your
    (”)_(”) signature to help him gain world domination.

    By Cowgill on Apr 6, 2012

  36. Anyone who’s read ANYTHING in the cyberpunk vein (Snow Crash being a personal fave) will know that eventually EVERYTHING will be virtual and that includes your “abode”, “hangout” and “job”. Personally, I can’t wait to have a whole wall of my apartment taken up by a cover shot of the album I’m currently listening to. How cool will _that_ be?
    And control or not, there will always be little corners and crannies where you’ll be able to squirrel away your personal files, safe from prying eyes.

    By golgo hakase on Apr 7, 2012

  37. as i quickly approach 51 years on planet earth, i realize that Darwin’s evolutionary theories could easily be ascribed to the explosion of entertainment media technology. black and white> color tv, vinyl>8track>cassette>cd, vhs/beta/laser disc>dvd>blu-ray and 3D. not to mention video games. now we can carry entire collections in the palm of our hand. all in the last 50 years! as a dj from 1984-2006, my house is filled with records, tapes and discs, which are worth nothing but fond memories. That said, the thing i dreamed of as a young man, was to have access to rare ‘unreleased’ and live recordings of dylan, floyd, zeppelin and the dead. so, in my opinion, THESE ARE THE GOOD OLD DAYS…

    By Billy Jack on Apr 8, 2012

  38. Hi,

    I use sometimes german movie-stream-portals like videoload or maxdome. for a “I need it now!”-watching of a movie its nice. Sadly, the quality stays low, even in HD. Worse: most movies are synchronized in german, but I prefer original language (+subtitles). This is not offered. Oh, and there are not many movies offered. If there will be
    - real HD
    - choices of language
    - subtitles
    - lifetime-watchability of movies, I bought (or rented)
    - good price
    - many movies
    - faster downloads
    then, I think, I will switch from physical media to online-media, as I did with my amazon kindle (love it!)

    By Lyka on Apr 8, 2012

  39. As long as independent shops exist I will continue to purchase what they have to sell. I will also continue to stream and download when needed. I will use what ever technology I need so that I may continue enjoying music and video.
    I will always have multiple formats in my household and currently own (although not all being used) 78’s, 45’s, LP’s, 8 Track, Cassette, CD, Beta, VHS, Laser Disc, DVD, Blu Ray and the equipment to play them (well…not the 8 Track) and of course my computer, android, iPhone, iPad, tablet, etc. As long as there is a power source and I am breathing I will continue to be entertained.

    By rondelrio on Apr 8, 2012

  40. Much as I love possessing a hard copy of something I love, be it a book or a CD, I find myself spending ever more time reading on my PC or listening to music through my PC while I am working.
    Used to be one had to get up to change discs (flat black shellac things with grooves, for the kiddies who are about to get confused) every three or four minutes; listening to great music, the stuff that comes in ‘movements’, was a pain in the arse.
    Then came LPs… Wow! And then CDs… Yeehah!
    But now I can queue five hours of music, get working, and enjoy all Beethoven’s symphonies in sequence, or compare ten versions of the Emperor concerto.
    That is progress, and it is good. The kids have NO idea that it was ever any less simple than it is for them now.
    BUT - I still possess a copy of the music - as digital code, as a CD, or as an LP that gathers dust. I do NOT want to reliquish possession; I do not want to depend on some executive who will one day decide, because his Beethoven-loving boyfriend left him, that he will delete all Beethoven from the MetaCloud… totally, forever…
    And I screwed if I am going to pay some cowboy for access to his cloud whenever I want to listen to music.
    In short… It is progress while it still works for our comfort and our benefit and our economy.
    The moment there is any suggestion that we should “give up control and trust them”… Screw that! Users need to start telling the moguls to shove their cloud and their constant grabs for more power and more ways to milk us.
    I think it would be fun to bring back tarring and feathering for corporate pirates whose greed offends the masses!

    By tony on Apr 8, 2012

  41. I had been an avid LP & the CD collector, but my favorites since the late 90s was live show and music from GD Live, Sugarmegs & among others including this great resource. I would like to have a Bluray player, but I have bought DVDs of favorite performers like Lucinda Williams, Cream, the Blasters, Phil & Friends, Clapton’s Crossroads festival. There should be a better clearinghouse to support the performers & songwriters that could bypass the huge corporations where possible, but not where they have been fair.

    By Marty Freeman on Apr 8, 2012

  42. I do not look forward to a disc-less future. I have no faith in the long-term viability of the cloud, or somebody else’s judgement on what needs to be maintained on a server somewhere and what does not.

    By James on Apr 13, 2012

  43. vinyl still has the best quality

    By andrew on Apr 16, 2012

  44. I believe there will also be a market those things which you can hold, read and listen. I don’t expect that newspapers, magazine, books or recordings (cd’s, albums, etc.) will disappear. One will always hold value in what they can hold versus something in space in a digital format. My best recordings are those that I can hold and read the liner notes.

    By Bubbles on Apr 23, 2012

  45. I can only speak for myself. Every time I hear hear real vinyl or a high quality tape recording digitized, I begin to get that experience again of playing a virgin platter on a great sound system. I think that Neil Young is on to something, but I think that only time will tell if the listening experience will revert or parallel to what it once was. The ongoing question is still this: Can we experience that warmth in recordings in the manner that artists, producers and sometimes record companies use to shepherd to our stereos? Or will the future generation of music consumers be too removed from that experience to understand?

    By John January on Apr 23, 2012

  46. vinyl still has the best quality

    By Bob on Apr 24, 2012

  47. KFJC’s library houses almost a million pieces of music media, from vinyl (always our favorite) to CDs, to 8-tracks and cassettes!

    Although storing the CDs is easier, we will always make room for vinyl. The quality of the actual non-digital medium is audible … and the quality of a video-tape is the highest I have heard yet. Still, those media forms are temporary depending on wear and the deterioration of tape, respectively.

    But the vinyl album is more about grooves. It’s about the Album Art, the liner notes (legible ones) and the crackle and pop of a needle over that bit of dust you failed to sweep away.

    Digital media is a great backup. I can travel to a remote site to deejay and carry my entire unplanned set - able to drop things in at a moment’s notice as the mood and playlist warrants - on just a MacBook’s internal harddrive. But when that crashes, where do i go? Well, sure, a backup of the harddrive. But i always have that awesome library to fall back on. And my own media collection, which never ceases growing.

    I am grateful to the digital age for making things more accessible and cheaply stored, but they’ll pry my vinyl collection out of my cold RSI-riddled hands.

    By Rocket J Squirrel on Apr 27, 2012

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