By Todd Anderson on Feb 20, 2019 at 5:14 PM
  1. Todd Anderson

    Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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    "Old School" Videophilia Takes Another Hit: Samsung Exits 4K Player Market

    [​IMG](February 19, 2019) With hardcore videophiles and disc collectors still mourning the loss of OPPO’s 4K presence, Samsung has decided to pour a little salt in the wound. As recently reported by Forbes’ John Archer, the company has decided not to make any new 4K Blu-ray player models. That means Samsung’s UBD-M9500 – first released in 2017 – will likely be the last 4K BD player the company ever releases.

    *Sigh*

    While it’s true that Samsung didn’t arrive at CES 2019 with 4K Blu-ray players in tow, Archer says his Samsung contacts had privately relayed plans for a 2019 release of a high-end disc machine. Information, he claims, that didn’t jibe with dealer rumors being spread late last year.

    So, what does this mean?

    First off, it’s rather obvious that the 4K Blu-ray market isn’t healthy. In fact, it’s in a total disease-infested distressed state. According to Nielsen’s Q2 2018 “Total Audience Report,” the average US adult spends roughly 10 hours and 24 minutes per day interacting with audio and visual media (including gaming consoles, radio, live TV, etc.). Of that time, the average adult sources content from a DVD or Blu-ray device for a mere five minutes. Let’s repeat that: the average adult sources content from a DVD or Blu-ray device for an average of five minutes per day. That’s an insanely small sliver of time and it pales in comparison to averaged daily stats for media consumption from live TV (3 hr 49 min) and app/web based content on a smartphone (2 hr 19 min).

    As grimly stated by Nielsen: “Some devices, such as DVD/Blu-ray players, are in the declining phase of their product life cycle as streaming devices gain prominence. As a result, DVD/Blu-ray player penetration dropped to 66% in June 2018 from 72% one year prior, while internet connected devices increased from 34% to 38% and enabled smart TV penetration grew from 31% to 40%.”

    Secondarily, consider the fact that Samsung has been a major backer of the 4K Blu-ray market. After all, it was the first company to officially release a 4K capable Blu-ray player. And while it’s recent decision to distance itself from the format could be a sign that consumers simply favored gear from other brands, it’s hard not to take note of its abrupt shift in product strategy.

    Of course, all is not lost. Both Sony and Panasonic are still active in an exceedingly niche 4K Blu-ray player market. But for how much longer? The numbers… the figures… the expert analyses… all point in the wrong direction for fans of the silver disc. As an enthusiast that desperately wants discs to survive (let’s be honest: they remain the only affordable option for access to the best quality movie experience), Samsung’s decision is a total gut punch. A real tough one to take.
     
    #1 Todd Anderson, Feb 20, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019

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Discussion in 'AV Industry News' started by Todd Anderson, Feb 20, 2019.

    1. Matthew J Poes

      Matthew J Poes Staff Writer
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      Sad but not surprising.

      The same thing happened with music. First we saw CD sales peak out, and in the midst of that DVD-A and SACD came about. At the same time, the MP3 became popular. The music industry nose dived. Profits were down and they quickly followed with tons of law suits against illegal music sharing. DVD-A and SACD largely died away and CD sales pretty much collapsed as online downloads rose in prominance, the lawsuits settled and the industry realized that was a bad idea, followed by the slow rise in music streaming at poor quality. Now we live in a time when streaming is possible at a quality that equals nearly the best available today. Certainly at least as good as what was available from DVD-A and SACD at the start.

      So...I suspect we are in for a rough few years where movies will decline dramatically in quality. Streaming will continue to grow, with just expensive download services to handle the high quality market, one that will price most of the consumer market out. Eventually someone will come out with a high quality streaming service the equal of what we have now, and then we can finally move on. Let's hope that day comes sooner than later.

      What I think has held this whole thing back in both industries is profits. The owners of the media expect too much profit from these products and we aren't willing to pay it anymore. If they can handle a bit less profit, actors a bit lower pay, maybe these services can be viable.
       
    2. tripplej

      tripplej AV Enthusiast

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      Streaming is everywhere now. Just about every TV now is smart and with all the phone's and tablets, streaming is easily accessible.

      As long as Sony is still in the game, I think blu ray will survive. Time will tell. :)
       
    3. danzilla31

      danzilla31 Member

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      Man I'm mourning the reality of this as well. One of the easy ways to permanently own high quality content going bye bye.

      I'm just praying that Sony and some others will stick around I'm hoping that if other players bow out even in a shrinking field if your the only game in town then well you pick up enough of what's left of the market to justify sticking around and keeping these formats around

      But once they figure out how to stream true high quality audio in Netflix and formats like that all the time? I'm afraid that may be the death of it

      And we'll be at the mercy of the streaming services for what we own and don't get to own. I'm afraid once that day comes were going to get gouged on prices that make us pine for the days when we got gouged on cable
       
    4. JBrax

      JBrax Senior AV Addict
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      I’m still using my Samsung 8500 and it has been flawless. While not the most robust it has yet to fail me. I’m a collector and would love to see physical media thrive and continue to add to my library but I know the end is near. I guess we should all just embrace the streaming experience and I’m ready with my AppleTV4K. It’s rather impressive to be honest.
       
    5. Paul Crowther

      Paul Crowther New Member

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      I purchased an Oppo 203 on the day of release, but during the two and a bit years since I have only purchased 17 UHD discs.
      That is because here in the UK they are ridiculously expensive and often the picture quality is only marginally better than regular Blu-ray as most films are made in 2k not 4k.
      If 4k discs are to succeed they need to be more affordable and demonstrably better than Blu-ray.
      I would be sad to see 4k discs fail but not surprised.
       
    6. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      Kaleidescape is such an awesome - Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray quality - service. It's just pricey.

      I've been working on getting a review unit... that involved meeting with their east coast sales rep at a location north of baltimore. The demo was spectacular. Many folks think the company just rips BDs and 4K BDs for download. Far from it. They actual take the original files from Hollywood and make their own end files. That allows them to offer some content in 4K that otherwise isn't available on disc. You also have access to releases weeks before they're available. And don't get me started on the user interface and sorting/search features. Simply awesome.

      So, hopefully something like that will continue to be available (with a reduction in cost)...
       
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    7. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      What kind of display/projector are you using, Paul?
       
    8. Tony V.

      Tony V. Moderator
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      Streaming is the future but I hope that actual media will survive. Ive found that often find new release 4k to be within $4 of the equivalent BluRay so I buy the 4K if thats the case even though I dont currently own a 4K Player or projector as eventually I will upgrade and given it includes the blueray disc its a win win.
       
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    9. thrillcat

      thrillcat Moderator
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      I have to credit/blame at least part of this to the movie studios. The quality of what they’ve been releasing has dropped dramatically. Reboots and remakes and superhero movies.

      It used to be I could walk into my video rental store on a Friday and have to limit my rentals on the new release wall, because there was only so much time in the weekend. These days I can walk in, peruse the entire store and walk out empty handed, having only to decide what to rewatch.

      Let’s be honest with ourselves, the percentage of high quality original content that Netflix is putting out ever week is much higher than what the studios have to offer.
       
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    10. Tony V.

      Tony V. Moderator
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      Ive bought a resounding 3 new releases since the beginning of December of last year. Usually by now I buy at least 3 movies a month. The good new releases this year have been slim to none.
       
    11. bkeeler10

      bkeeler10 Senior Member

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      This is a sad development. To lose Oppo was one thing - a niche company within a niche market - but Samsung is a heavy hitter of course and to have them basically abandon the video disc market is a pretty big nail in the coffin. I just hope streaming quality catches up quick and approaches the quality of 4K before discs die.

      I don't buy many discs myself, mostly because I don't tend to watch most shows more than a couple times and it's quite a capital investment. But I don't subscribe to any streaming services so discs (and locally stored rips of some of those discs) are my sole source of content. I am fortunate to have a local movie rental shop right next to my workplace, which has studiously kept up with the latest in disc technology and has a large selection of 4K discs, including many releases of older movies. I figure I spent a lot of money on high-quality gear, so why would I feed it less than the best quality content. Who knows how long that will be an option . . .
       
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    12. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      Consider yourself REALLY lucky to have that rental shop. Those simply don't exist in my area.
       
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    13. danzilla31

      danzilla31 Member

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      I'll have to check them out are they like a streaming service like Netflix?
       
    14. danzilla31

      danzilla31 Member

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      My favorite place to go is CD Exchange they sell used CD's Bluerays' and 4k discs and Dad's they have a gigantic selection and your getting great discs for literally sometimes $5 a disc. Even new ones are way marked down. It's how I'm building up my collection. I'm gonna build as much as I can before streaming takes over
       
    15. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      No, it’s a download service that allows you to download movies in DVD, BD and 4KBD quality... with Uncompressed Audio. The players cost about $4k... of course you need storage too, which they sell.
       
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    16. danzilla31

      danzilla31 Member

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      Just the uncompressed audio alone would be worth it man that's a steep price tho
       
    17. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      Steep price. The interface is absolutely incredible... GUI is full of amazing graphics. You can sort and search for movies using actor, director, similar title, etc. I believe video quality is technically better than what's found on 4K disc because there's no bit rate restrictions when there's super intense action on screen.

      It also integrates with home control devices. So, hit the start button, and Kaledescape will dim lights and close shades, etc... movie ends and the lights and shades come back up!

      The whole system is amazing. I'd love to have one --- I'm still hoping to get a unit for review. Scheduling is tough because of home renovation timeline on my end and they only have two demo units... those units are constantly on the move for shows, etc. Fingers crossed.
       
    18. tripplej

      tripplej AV Enthusiast

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      I wonder why they keep their prices so high? If they made it more affordable, it would sell very fast. :)
       
    19. Tony V.

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      Kaleidoscope, looks really nice! I just looked them up and they are available up here in Edmonton. Steep price but if streaming becomes the only way to get movies this might not be a bad investment. Is there a subscription fee as well?
       
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    20. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      It's really been marketed toward custom installers (although, you can can access through a dealer that will sell direct). I asked them a question about pricing... they pretty much said that they system's price point is inline with what the system offers. They service/product they provide can't be cheap to support.
       
    21. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      I don't believe there's any subscription fee. You basically buy and download. Once you buy, you own the rights to the movie, itself. That's unlike scenarios (like we recently saw with iTunes) where someone "buys" a movie... but loses access if the movie gets moved to a different movie house that apple has a different agreement with. (not picking on apple by the way). At least that's what Kaledescape says.
       
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    22. tripplej

      tripplej AV Enthusiast

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      Yeah, I am sure it is expensive to maintain for them, hence the high price for end consumers. Hopefully, the price for that support can go down as time goes on so that more people will be able to afford the product. I would love to have it but can't afford it. :)
       
    23. danzilla31

      danzilla31 Member

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      Well I have 2 options start saving my buns off and or win the lottery either way I'm going to get this service someday they sound amazing and I love movies so much so it will be worth it. Okay so noodles only for how many years till I can get this service? :praying:
       
    24. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      if you're a movie lover, you can't do better than kaleidescape
       

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