Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Data Storage Media Sony Stats

Sony Warns Demand For Blu-Ray Diminishing Faster Than Expected 477

Lucas123 (935744) writes "Sony has warned investors that it expects to take a hit on expected earnings (PDF), due in part to the fact that demand for Blu-ray Disc media is contracting faster than anticipated. In two weeks, Sony will announce its financial results. The company expects to post a net loss. Sony's warning is in line with other industry indicators, such as a report released earlier this year by Generator Research showed revenue from DVD and Blu-ray sales will likely decrease by 38% over the next four years. By comparison, online movie revenue is expected to grow 260% from $3.5 billion this year to $12.7 billion in 2018, the report states. Paul Gray, director of TV Electronics & Europe TV Research at market research firm DisplaySearch, said consumers are now accustomed to the instant availability of online media, and 'the idea of buying a physical copy seems quaint if you're under 25.'" Especially when those copies come with awful DRM.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Sony Warns Demand For Blu-Ray Diminishing Faster Than Expected

Comments Filter:
  • Blank Media (Score:5, Interesting)

    by webmistressrachel ( 903577 ) on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:45PM (#46923961) Journal

    They should re-tool all of their factories, embrace the inevitable, and minimize (or prevent) losses by marketing it for storage and reducing the price of the discs and drives. The only thing that can save Blu-Ray now is to re-purpose it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Don't expect this. There is an inevitable whining to government that is in the cards... you can bet on it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by FatdogHaiku ( 978357 )

        Don't expect this. There is an inevitable whining to government that is in the cards... you can bet on it.

        Because if they bring the whine, the government will provide the cheese...

    • Re:Blank Media (Score:5, Interesting)

      by lgw ( 121541 ) on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:50PM (#46924003) Journal

      I'll always prefer the disc, so I can feel like I paid for my BluRay rip. I don't like streaming much - I want a real file on the filesystem on my HTPC, with instant seeking and so on.

      For stuff to watch once, I still like Netflix by mail, but sadly Netflix doesn't - they seem determined to abandon the business.

      • Re:Blank Media (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:58PM (#46924087)

        br rips are great. on a local nas, totally great.

        on opto discs, uhm, not so great.

        files are ok. the player, its java garabage, forced watch segments, slow startup, screw that! the players are aweful and the whole architecture is ugly.

        the only good thing is that they are decent sources for further compression back into normal file sizes. the native BR discs take up way too much room, but rips and compressions of them are a good balance of storage and quality.

        I never owned a player and I think I have one disc (came with something). I won't help sony (et al) get rich from this by buying 'licensed' media and players. but I will enjoy the higher res files, thank you very much.

        • by lgw ( 121541 )

          I agree on playing the discs. I have a BluRay drive only because I like ripping them myself. The only BluRay I've ever watched from the disc is the Doctor Who 50th anniversary thing, because I wanted to check out the 3D on my TV and I don't know how to rip that properly.

          Maybe it's my connection, but streaming just seems second-rate to me. I'll stream stuff when I just want something to listen to while I do stuff around the house, but not to pay full attention to. Sadly, I fear it's just a matter of time

      • Re:Blank Media (Score:5, Informative)

        by Electricity Likes Me ( 1098643 ) on Monday May 05, 2014 @09:49PM (#46924849)

        Thanks to living in Australia, almost all my Blu-Rays are from the US region, and have been ripped and de-DRM'd so I can actually, you know, watch them.

        It feels like there's a lesson in here.

        • by Kaenneth ( 82978 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @04:03AM (#46926397) Homepage Journal

          You have to adjust the motor to spin the opposite direction to play northern hemisphere discs in Australia/New Zealand.

          The default spin is reversed to negate the torque of the corialis effect.

    • by gmack ( 197796 )

      Better would be to start actually selling things people want in Blu-Ray format. I refuse to buy DVDs of a series I just watched in HD and quite often series releases are still DVD only and so I buy nothing instead.

      • Re:Blank Media (Score:5, Informative)

        by Tough Love ( 215404 ) on Monday May 05, 2014 @08:23PM (#46924271)

        Maybe it would have served Sony well to make the format less user-offensive. Slow loading, Interminable trailers with no bypass. Offsensive "FBI WARNING". Crappy slow inconsistent menus coded in Java. I thought this was the 21st century.

        • Re:Blank Media (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Monday May 05, 2014 @08:55PM (#46924515) Homepage

          I haven't used physical media directly for a rather long time. Any time I do, I remember why it is that I originally stopped. I can certainly see why someone might view streaming video as less bothersome.

          Hollywood spends far too much time fixating on thieves while kicking their paying customer in the balls.

          • Re:Blank Media (Score:5, Insightful)

            by sremick ( 91371 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @12:31AM (#46925693)

            I have a movie collection numbering in the many hundreds. All are on original physical media.

            All the reasons that people have for streaming versus playing off discs I agree with... but there's one kicker: once you get past the annoying menus, notices, and previews, and actually get to the movie, the quality can't be compared. Not many people have a 30-50 Mbit/s internet connection that can handle the full bitrate of 1080p video with lossless 5.1 sound, and I can't think of any streaming source that would send that even if someone did. They're all horribly compressed up the ass with lossy compression... noticable even on my 40" TV but especially so on the 92" projector.

            Unskippable menus suck, and online libraries are certainly convenient... but when it comes time to watch the movie, I do kind of want it to actually look good. But I guess I'm a dying breed.

        • Re:Blank Media (Score:5, Interesting)

          by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @03:39AM (#46926311) Homepage

          Media companies should understand that if a non-paying viewer has a better user experience than a paying viewer, viewers will prefer to not pay.
          This has nothing to do with price, it has to do with the quality of a product.
          To the media companies, a badly encoded movie is a quality problem.
          To a viewer, being forced to watch anything he doesn't want to is a quality problem.

          The "FBI warning" is the worst of all. Consider walking into a clothing store, checkout out a new pair of pants and have the store clerk tell you "I must warn you that you may not create your own pants that look like these pants. That would be criminal. No, you may not wear these pants you paid for until I'm done telling you this and you must read this un-detachable warning label every time you want to wear these pants. To ensure you read it, the label comes with protection that won't let you pull up the zipper for a minute every time you put them on.".

          • Especially in countries where the FBI has no jurisdiction.

            • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

              In my "jurisdiction", they get replaced by a long, boring static page of text from the local MAFFIAA organisation with annoying muzak playing in the background.
              Don't these organizations understand that people BUYING media aren't the ones you should be blaming for piracy?
              Sure, a few of them may rip it, but do they really think that accusing the remaining 99.99% of your customers is a smart idea.
              And do they really think a warning will stop the few people that buy media for the purpose of ripping it?
              Have any o

    • They should re-tool all of their factories, embrace the inevitable, and minimize (or prevent) losses by marketing it for storage and reducing the price of the discs and drives. The only thing that can save Blu-Ray now is to re-purpose it.

      Reducing the price of media and drives just means less money for them. Ultimately it won't do any good.

      I used to buy blank DVDs in bulk. But I haven't burned more than 3 or 4 DVDs in the last 2 years. Everything is on a couple of 3TD hard drives with backup copies a two more drives. Why would I want to storing and spend time shuffling around a hundred disks?

      • by webmistressrachel ( 903577 ) on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:59PM (#46924093) Journal

        If you have a good product, with fixed costs,that is too expensive, that nobody is buying, you are losing money. Sony et al. know this only too well, it's why the DVD industry followed the pattern it did.

        If you reduce the price and get SOME customers, and they tell other people "Hey this works, it's good." you'll get MORE sales, with LESS margin - but this is much better than no sales at all!

        Also, drives aren't proper backup, unless they're offsite, and these discs pack 50GB each, more than enough for most discrete items on your 3TB drive (what do you need that for anyway, HD porn?)

        • An extra hard disk onsite is as good a backup as physical dvd or bluray disks.

          The problem with streamed media is they lose the rights and bam- you can't watch it any more.

          Going forward- they seem to be fragmenting in to many stations- which each want 10 bucks a month.

          Still- I stopped buying DVD's and Blurays several years ago when I hit 50ish. I only buy something if I'm certain I'll actually watch it again before I die.

        • Also, drives aren't proper backup, unless they're offsite, and these discs pack 50GB each, more than enough for most discrete items on your 3TB drive (what do you need that for anyway, HD porn?)

          Optical discs aren't a proper backup either unless you store them offsite: they are easily destroyed in a fire or taken by a burglar.

          I think encrypted online backup is a far more convenient solution than optical discs: it can run as a background process instead of requiring the user to insert a blank disc regularly.

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        I bought a 128GB USB stick for under $50. Why buy blanks when I can use a stick that holds much much more and can sneakernet it around?

        We've come back to sneakernets. It's safer than P2P and my TV, stereo, and media players will all play most video formats directly from USB, so I don't need a PC to have a HTPC. Put files on a drive, play directly. That's why disks are dying. They are small, slow, and expensive.
      • Re:Blank Media (Score:4, Insightful)

        by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @04:38AM (#46926513) Journal
        I bought a BD-DL writer for my NAS when I built it 4 years ago. It was a bit under £50, so not much more than a DVD drive (well, a bit more than twice the price, but not much in absolute terms). I also bought a spindle of 10 blank disks. So far, I have not burned a single one. It's big enough to back up some things, but not the things I really want to back up, and splitting the backups across multiple disks is annoying.

        Optical drives always seem to be introduced at a capacity that sounds great for backup, but by the time the media are affordable they're no longer enough.

    • Re:Blank Media (Score:5, Informative)

      by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Monday May 05, 2014 @08:28PM (#46924311)

      The arrogance of Sony won't allow them to do that. They have a fetish for proprietary failed formats

      Failed Sony Formats...
      * Betamax []
      * MiniDisc []
      * HiFD []
      * SSDS []
      * BroadBand eBook []
      * Memory Stick [] (almost dead)
      * HDV [] dying
      * Super Audio CD []
      * Universal Media Disc [] (dying)

      Successful Sony Formats...
      + CD []
      + Blu-ray []

      • Re:Blank Media (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dk20 ( 914954 ) on Monday May 05, 2014 @08:49PM (#46924455)
        MiniDisc was actually a pretty good system at the time and the discs were fairly cheap. what killed it was the ATRAC format. Since Sony music was so concerned with piracy they introduced their proprietary format to prevent copying. A good example of one division of sony killing another i guess.

        While it might have been a workable solution had they spent any money/time building a proper converter (mp3->actrac) instead of the garbage they released.

        I've been burned by Sony twice (moved to Yamaha long ago) and buying the minidisc which said "mp3 support" right on the box, but having to wait an excessive amount of time to convert to actrac was too much to ask. The wait time naturally assumes the atrac conversion software SonicStage didn't crash/hang...
        • Re:Blank Media (Score:5, Informative)

          by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @05:11AM (#46926609) Journal

          MiniDisc would have been massively successful if they'd pushed the MD-Data format. Back when they started talking about it, a Zip drive cost about £100 and the disks cost about £10 each. Portable MD recorders cost under £100 and the discs were about £1.50. I wanted one as soon as they were announced, but I never saw one for sale and the people in my local Sony shop didn't even know what they were. In 1997, they increased the capacity to 650MB, making them the same capacity as a CD, but smaller than a floppy disk. I'm not sure how much the 650MB discs were, but a CD-RW cost about £10 then and a CD-R about £1.

          I still don't understand how Sony had a format that was better than anything else on the market, existing economies of scale that would have made it possible to sell it for less than anything else on the market, and still failed.

          • I still don't understand how Sony had a format that was better than anything else on the market, existing economies of scale that would have made it possible to sell it for less than anything else on the market, and still failed.

            Bad management. It basically comes down to the same thing each time with Sony: they try to retain as much control as possible over a format, rather than just throwing it out to the market and letting people use it how they want. Of course you're not going to do well when you tell a big chunk of your potential customers that you're not interested in their use cases or money.

      • Re:Blank Media (Score:5, Interesting)

        by rodrigoandrade ( 713371 ) on Monday May 05, 2014 @08:51PM (#46924479)
        At least give Sony credit for sticking with their products for their entire life cycle, unlike certain companies that drop stuff like a hot potato *cough* Microsoft *cough* Sega *cough* if the first sales report is shit.
      • 3/4 U-matic was a huge success. Betacam was a huge success. 8mm was a big success. 3.5" floppy was a HUGE success.

        DAT was a failure.

        MiniDisc was not a failure. It was big in Europe and Japan.

        DVD was partially Sony's work (split with Matsushita, just as CD was split with Philips).

        A lot of the reason people think Sony has a penchant for failed formats is Sony creates a lot of formats. You can't fail if you don't try.

      • Re:Blank Media (Score:4, Insightful)

        by FireFury03 ( 653718 ) <> on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @02:43AM (#46926113) Homepage

        Successful Sony Formats...
        + CD []
        + Blu-ray []

        CDs were invented by Phillips, not Sony. And Blu-Ray owes a large part of its success to Sony bundling players with Play Stations.

        Still, if they weren't DRMed to hell and I could actually play them legally, I might buy BluRay stuff... but for now I stick with DVDs.

    • This seems good in theory, however, of late I've found myself just using USB3 hard drives and thumb drives to do the same far more quickly and easily. And since a typical 2.5" hard drive is equivalent to 20+ blu-ray disks, they consume far less space, and it's far easier to manage larger subsets of your collection in bigger bundles.

      Sneaker net is also quicker and easier with high density hard drives, as people like to make copies of things they receive, and mounting a hard drive and copying what they want i

  • Contracting? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Daimanta ( 1140543 ) on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:47PM (#46923975) Journal

    Was it even ever popular? I never had a Blu-Ray player in my house and I have only held a internal player once in my hands. In my opinion, Blu-Ray has failed as a successor to DVD. Even in the autumn days of DVD, you can find disks and players everywhere. With the better Blu-Ray, adoption had been hurting and it has never seen the lift-off its predecessor had. I doubt that a successor to Blu-Ray will fare much better.

    • Re:Contracting? (Score:5, Informative)

      by webmistressrachel ( 903577 ) on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:51PM (#46924007) Journal

      The problem has always been the price of burners and discs. Blu Ray seemed awesome when I first saw it, but I never could justify the cost, what with these cheap generic +R's and WinRAR to split stuff... oh not to mention cheap almost-disposable drives.

    • by Mitreya ( 579078 )

      Was it even ever popular? I never had a Blu-Ray player in my house

      One word: Playstation3

      I never looked to buy a Blue-Ray, but I do have a PlayStation in my house.

      • Re:Contracting? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Frobnicator ( 565869 ) on Monday May 05, 2014 @08:18PM (#46924251) Journal

        Ever try running blu-ray outside of a PlayStation?

        I have a blu-ray drive in my media computer. (The one hooked up to the TV and sound system.) When I try to play a newer blu-ray disk, I am told it won't work and I need to buy a new player. Fortunately there are some free alternatives, coupled with AnyDVD, that will still decode and play the newer disks.

        When I try to play a blu-ray in the dedicated blu-ray player, it simply boots up as unreadable and asks for a firmware update... but there are no firmware updates to be had for the device any more.

        In my view, it is the over-zealous DRM that is killing the format. The video quality is great, and storage capacity is wonderful, and I would love to get a burner for my PC if discs were affordable. Right now its only use is HD movies that take 3-5 minutes to start playing thanks to DRM and other garbage on the disk.

        • by dk20 ( 914954 )
          " it is the over-zealous DRM that is killing the format."

          See my post above on he minidisc...

          Welcome to Sony, where DRM comes first and customers a distant second.

          Just because they sold the bluray player, and made the new disks in some "version X" format doesn't mean one should expect them to release a firmware which allows you to the newer disks. They just abandon the player and move on to the next big thing.
          • Re:Contracting? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by hambone142 ( 2551854 ) on Monday May 05, 2014 @09:19PM (#46924675)
            I have to agree with you. I bought a Sony BR player and it wouldn't play the BR discs I purchased. Needed an upgrade of firmware. I tried to do that and the process repeatedly failed. I called Sony and they said "it won't update properly via WiFi, use a cable. I ran a LAN cable 50 feet to my router. Same error. Returned the deck. I tried to play BR on my PC. More DRM crap. I'm not buying Blu Ray discs anymore. They are a pain in the ass to play (or "attempt to play").
        • DRM is why I never considered it. Well, I didn't have HD capable tv until recent, but even then I decided I didn't really need bluray since I don't have any disks for it and my dvd player still works. Having to connect a player to the internet just to upgrade firmware is silly (most likely only needed to update revocation lists).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by John Stock ( 3421943 )
      It's not that Blu-Ray failed. It's that physical media failed and most people turned to online sources or streaming.
    • We never had one either

      We also have a DVD player, but we rarely use it any more.

    • It's just not that much better, is it?

      Akin to the officially failed next generation 3D movies and televisions, it just hasn't made the kind of obvious advancement that DVD's were from VHS.

      Of course, with the shrinking American middle class disposable income, you've basically lost a big part of your largest target market for the latest, greatest, and shiniest.

      • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

        More importantly, it's not that much better than Netflix HD streaming. heck in some cases (House of Cards, Orange is the new Black, Arrested Development) Netflix is better because they'll stream you 4K video if your TV (and connection) will support it. That's roughly 4x the resolution of 1080p, which I think is as high as standard Blu-Ray will go.

        Also yeah, 90% of users Just Don't Care about owning a "collection" of shiny things that take up space and just want to watch their movie Now and then not

    • There won't be a successor to blue ray. The demand and thus volume for any physical media will not be great enough to justify the research and production of drives at a loss, with the expectation that eventually the mass production will drive prices down low enough that it will finally become profitable. Especially when you look at what it took to even make Blue Ray happen (essentially shoving it down everyone's throat by using it in the PS3).

    • Was it even ever popular?

      I agree. This is a moment where marketing-speak masks the truth. The word they're using - demand - isn't appropriate. There was never and demand for Blu-Ray. What did exist to some degree was willingness to buy. These are not the same thing.

      Demand stems from a need to strong desire. "If only someone would make a platter with higher resolution and more intrusive DRM, I'd give my left nut." That's demand. On the other hand, "I heard about this new gizmo with 1080p and intrusive DRM, and it turns out

      • No, there is certainly demand. The high definition video is way better than what you can stream.

        The flaw is the DRM. Players must be constantly updated with new security features to play the discs, and even then it takes minutes for the menus and other garbage to load. Then you finally get in to the movie.

        I can't really stand the disks any more due to the roughly 5 minutes before putting in the disk and getting the player running. Instead I rip the main movie to my backup drive and watch it on my PC hooke

    • Was it even ever popular?

      Oh yes. The quality is absolutely better than DVD, and still much better than streaming.

      That said, I stream a lot of shows and video - but some selected movies I love I still buy on Blu-Ray because you can't beat 50GB of data locally cached.

      I can see why the absolute sales of Blu-Ray have declined because people used to buy the "filler" movies on DVD that you can now easily stream, so the sales of filler stuff on BluRay must be dropping like a stone.

    • Blu-rays biggest failure was not to have a backwards compatible dvd layer. Nothing worse than going to a friend's house and find out he doesn't have the right player. Or Grandma not being able to play the fucking disc she rented (regioning is a joy too, yo). They should have made the transition seamless.... but instead got hardons thinking people give a shit about their propietary formats.

    • Bluray quality is great. I definitely like watching them over DVD's. The problem is that the prices have been kept artificially high. Paying $30 or even $20 for a movie with some many alternatives these days is just going to fail hard.

  • Well duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:53PM (#46924031)

    Because you media types went and fucked it up as hard as you could. I am the sort of person who would like to buy a fair bit of Blu-ray movies. I don't mind movies on disc, I have a player, and I'm fussy about picture and sound quality. Blu-ray is noticeably better than streaming video on my system.

    However, greed and stupidity have screwed it up. For one it is just too expensive. I'll see a new movie int he store and the Blu-ray version is $10 above the DVD version. No, I'm not paying you for the extra bits. It does not cost you more to make. I'm not going to go and drop $35 on the Blu-ray version of something.

    Then there's the DRM. "That wouldn't affect you unless you are a pirate!" you say? Bullshit. So while my TV setup is nice, by far the highest def system in my house is my computer. It has a high end home theater speaker setup connected to it, and a professional monitor. So I wanted to watch one of my Blu-rays on it. It has a BD-RW, it has software, it has a GPU with the stupid "secure" drivers, and everything is HDCP compliant. So I fire it up and... no dice. See I mirror my video signal, one goes to the monitor for display, one goes to the soundcard to provide clock for the audio. That isn't allowed, even though every device is HDCP compliant.

    It also means should I wish to watch on my laptop, I'd have to buy it a Blu-ray player and lug the discs with me, there's no ability to copy them over.

    Is it any wonder I'm not more interested? I have a few Blu-ray discs, but not many, and I don't buy them often. I'm not paying an inflated price, and part of their interest, the extremely high quality, is dulled by the knowledge that they won't work on my highest end system.

    Netflix may not look as good, but it is cheap, and it works on, well, everything I own practically.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Netflix may not look as good, but it is cheap, and it works on, well, everything I own practically.

      When I had a month's free trial here in Norway almost all the HD versions were missing on my PC, that was only for "devices". I decided to go back to being a first class citizen (read:torrents)

    • Re:Well duh (Score:5, Informative)

      by captjc ( 453680 ) on Monday May 05, 2014 @08:14PM (#46924209)

      1) Wait a few months.Blu-rays come down in price. If it is an older movie, many come out at around $15 - $20 and go to around $5-$10 fairly fast. Check Amazon.

      2) Currently the best way to watch Blu-rays on the PC is MakeMKV. Rip to an MKV (~30 -60 mins) and watch it on your PC or then use something like Handbrake and convert it to MP4 and watch it on practically anything (AppleTV, PS3, whatever). HDCP bypassed! Yeah, you could buy PowerDVD or some other program to play Blu-rays, but for the price you are paying, you could buy a PS3. Plus there are less than legal ways of getting VLC to play Blu-rays as well, though it's not as convenient as a DVD.

      Sure, it would be nice if it had the support like DVDs have where you could just pop in the disc and it just plays but between the unskippable trailers and other crap they put on DVD's and Blu-rays these days, I just rip my discs.

    • Re:Well duh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sjames ( 1099 ) on Monday May 05, 2014 @08:40PM (#46924403) Homepage Journal

      This! They made a beautiful cake, moist without being sticky, the perfect crumb. Then thay slathered it with whipped horse shit frosting and wonder why nobody will buy it.

  • Quality snobs will have their local storage. I expect prices will go up.
  • by mmell ( 832646 ) on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:55PM (#46924055)
    They ended up pricing themselves into irrelevance. Unlike VHS and DVD, they didn't have enough entrenched market share to withstand the current breed of video distribution mechanisms, and their belief that strong DRM would let them set market pricepoint doesn't seem to have panned out quite the way they intended.

    Besides, at least I could rip and watch my DVD's on my devices - I know it can be done with BluRay, but they made it unpleasant enough to deter me exactly as they (Sony) intended. Now that me and guys like me just aren't that interested, I can't say as I'm surprised how things are ending up. Must break their hearts over there at Sony, eh? Doesn't break mine.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:56PM (#46924069)

    Blu-ray support is the biggest pain in the ass in our very tweaked media center. HDCP lag, endless ads at the start of each disk, incredibly complex software installs that frequently fail all in the name of 'security.' Try this security ... we will no longer tolerate your product. Now we're safe, how 'bout you?

  • by machineghost ( 622031 ) on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:57PM (#46924073)

    Sony fought *hard* to make Blue-Ray the dominant standard. It was basically "everyone and their brother behind HDTV" vs. "Sony and a couple of their bestest buddies behind Blue-Ray" until Sony spent a ton to get exclusives and woo studios away, all so that they could monopolize the next generation of movies (and not repeat the Betamax experience).

    As somone who hates to see companies monopolize technology, the fact that all their efforts were largely wasted makes me very happy :-)

  • Blame Hollywood (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:59PM (#46924101)

    What with the much lower quality video and far worse compression artifacts streaming has, also having to be connected to the internet to watch a movie, and also often having to pay per play rather than a pay once model, it totally boggles my mind that people prefer streaming video to blu-ray and even DVD.
    I'm much more inclined to believe that its really Hollywood that is killing off Blu-Ray (and any other form of physical media) rather than Joe Public.
    Hollywood have had so many bad experiences with successfully applying DRM to physical media, they've now turned to trying to do away completely with any/all forms of physical copies being in the hands of Joe Public. In mybook, thats a BAD thing for us.

    • This!

      The "No one will own anything ever again" subscription model for all media. I don't understand it either.

    • by unimacs ( 597299 )
      Personally, I don't often have a desire to see a movie more than once. Owning a hardcopy doesn't make a lot of sense when that is the case. In fact usually I can rent a movie online a few times before it would add up to the cost of buying a hard copy anyway.

      I honestly don't feel like I'm missing out on much by watching HD streaming video vs a Blu-Ray and no you don't have to have an Internet connection to watch a movie you've previously downloaded.
  • by PhantomHarlock ( 189617 ) on Monday May 05, 2014 @08:00PM (#46924107)

    ...for those of us with projection screens. When you're looking at a 150" screen projecting at 1920X1080, a blu-ray is gorgeous, just like being in the theater. At 25mbits / sec, artifacts are nonexistant. With the reduced bitrates and resolutions of even "HD" streaming, it all shows up. Streaming is not quite there yet due to last mile problems at least here in the states.

    At this year's NAB conference in Vegas, 4K was starting to take over in a really big way. I was flabbergasted by the difference in adoption between last year and this year. Everyone had 4K gear. I don't know how long it will take that to filter down to the consumer market, but I don't think streaming services are going to be able to keep up at all for a while. A 4K disc format will hopefully be in the offing.

    That being said, Blu Ray has been a pretty raw deal for small and independent video producers. If you want to make a video and publish it on Blu Ray officially, you have to pay the Blu Ray consortium a hefty royalty fee up front and you are obligated to use DRM even if you don't want it. They have come down hard from the beginning so that you can't go to any replication house and get replicated BRDs made without going through this process. You're limited to burning BD-R discs on your own if you don't want to deal with that. Fortunately BD-Rs are 100% compatible with all Blu Ray players, unlike DVD-Rs and DVD players, which were very problematic with compatibility. (that's a long story in and of itself)

    I was initially happy that Blu Ray won over HD-DVD until I found out how bad it was to actually just get something replicated onto BRD. I don't know that HD-DVD would have been any better though.

    • HD-DVD allowed DRM free creation (which meant no licensing fees) and could even be burned onto existing DVD media. The HD-DVD format was even web stream able.

      It was a reason I was a big fan of HD-DVD. Unfortunately everyone just saw the capacity and totally missed the horrible, awful DRM side.

  • The publishers were already experiencing this issue when they forced 30+ day delays before Redbox and Netflix could carry their movies, hoping to get in as many sales as possible. Now, I won't be surprised to see that exclusivity period creep up to 45 days or even 60 days.

  • Screwed the Pooch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fermion ( 181285 ) on Monday May 05, 2014 @08:04PM (#46924121) Homepage Journal
    I never bought a Blu Ray player. Why? Because the DVD was such a disappointment. We were promised all these features that never materialized. The only feature that DVD used was the feature that kept the consumer from skipping content, fast forwarding over commercials at the beginning of DVD, and of course DRM that makes it hard to copy onto the hardisk. So if you don't want to be tied to a DVD player, the best option is a subscription to Netflix. And since Bluray is DRM incarnate, unless one want to live in the 19th century, it is a trade off that most younger people choose not to make, Bluray becomes a non starter. The validity of these statements is shown by the inclusion of digital copy on some DVD and Blu Ray. If bluray had this a standard feature from day 1, I suspect it would have been widely succesful. But like DVD, the main goal of Blu Ray was to screw the user.
    • I have found the inclusion of the digital copy to be much more burdensome than simply watching a dvd or bluray.

      Limited to particular devices and operating systems
      Annoying registration processes
      Time limited download (i.e. a limited period to claim)
      extra software installations

    • You hit the nail on the head: Blu-Ray is for your mom and dad.

  • by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Monday May 05, 2014 @08:05PM (#46924125)

    And in some cases the video is exactly the same (grain per grain) as the DVD, and perhaps even with inferior audio and features. The studios decided to just ship out any crap and we would pay a premium because it was on BluRay. Some of us fell for it once or twice but eventually learned and went back to buying DVDs. Blame downloading services if you want, but I much prefer to own a physical DVD than a DRM crippled download of lower quality with repressive DRM or not even having the download at all, just watching and then having nothing. And I do like the extra features on discs and the ability to watch again or even lend the disc to a friend. There are lots of advantages to physical media, but several disadvantages to BluRay. I expect some studio execs would rather blame downloading for the decline in BluRay sales than take responsibility for decisions they made.

    And, yes, I know that DVDs have DRM too, but it tends to be much less of a problem for most users.

  • 1) Whole seasons of television on fewer than half the number of disks as DVD.

    2) When the burners get faster and cheaper, convenient backups. But realistically, Blu-Ray is too small for geeks - you want a backup medium that's at least 10% if not 20% of the size of your data set so a full backup won't be a huge stack of disks. You also want the differential backup from several weeks or months ago vs. today to fit on one disk.

  • and blue rays, but with hulu+netflix I won't normally let her buy them. I think people still like media, but at $25+ bucks a pop for a Blue Ray (and with a pretty weak economy) I think ppl are settling for what they can afford.
  • >"Especially when those copies come with awful DRM. "

    Um, and streaming doesn't? There is just as much DRM on Netflix/etc. Plus it has its own limitations:

    * I can't use it on any of my many Linux machines.
    * I can't use it without an Internet connection.
    * I can't get QUALITY without a GOOD Internet connection.
    * I can't use it at all if that Internet connection has blocking.
    * They have the ability to FORCE the user to watch anything they want- commercials, previews, copyright notices, public service annou

  • by Thagg ( 9904 ) <> on Monday May 05, 2014 @08:49PM (#46924459) Journal

    The FA says that Blu-ray disc sales are increasing, but overall disk sales are slowing because DVDs are contracting so quickly.

    Quoting the article. "Last year, about 124 million Blu-ray discs were sold in the U.S., a 4.2% increase over 2012, according to IHS Technology. Even so, because of reduced pricing for the format, revenue only increased 2.6%. DVD sales, which have been plummeting for years, dropped 13.6% last year."

    Blu-ray data rates are far higher than anything you can stream today, and people who care about that (not many of the commenters apparently :) ) apparently are still buying discs.

    I do come from the movie business, so I surely have a different perspective; but to filmmakers quality is paramount.

  • ...maybe the predatory pricing has something to do with it. Cut the price more than a token 1-2% and then see what happens.

  • ... hard drives are much cheaper and faster to backup data with than blu-ray discs. Blu-ray discs were too costly for the storage they offered vs hard discs and added only the most marginal improvement over DVD for video vs the size of the files. The cost, speed and size of hard drives far outpaced blu-ray. You get a 10 discs at 25GB a piece that is only a measily 250GB for roughly $12-16 bucks. You can get a 3 Terabyte hard drive for around $100, it's faster to copy and record things to and you can re-

  • This summary has it wrong. Read the article and its BluRay sales that are still increasing, presumably due to the quality problems (both audio and video) currently inherent in streaming. Anyone with a 60" or better LCD and a decent sound system will notice the difference immediately. Despite the DRM.

    It's DVD sales that are cratering, due to the following factors:

    1. Streaming quality is competive with DVD.
    2. Why buy DVD when BD is better?
    3. Easy piracy due to non-invasive DRM.

  • by YesIAmAScript ( 886271 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @01:21AM (#46925853)

    But there is no legal alternative. AACS may suck in principle, but it has been broken. I can buy a Blu-Ray and rip it bit-for-bit. There is no other HD content you are offered you can do this for. Netflix? Nope. Amazon/iTunes/UltraViolet/etc.? Nope.

    And HDCP? It sure is a pain in the butt. But it is on every other bit of legal HD studio content too. You cannot watch Hollywood HD content on any device in your house unless it has a built-in display (like a laptop, tablet or phone) or has HDCP. It's not just Blu-Ray, it's Netflix, iTunes, etc. So if you're going to put down Blu-Ray for that, you're just going to have to turn pirate or else watch in SD.

    The thing that really gets me about Blu-Ray, which other systems don't have, is all those stupid forced previews before the movies. As long as the studios put that junk on their Blu-Ray discs, they are going to discourage people from buying Blu-Ray discs. And that's on top of the existing discouragement of having to buy a drive.

  • by KalvinB ( 205500 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @02:21AM (#46926051) Homepage

    With HD digital projectors getting below $700 and Blu-ray players getting well under $100 and tons of classic movies on Blu-ray for $15 or less, it should be doing fine.

    I can't imagine being dependent on streaming to watch the movies I want to watch. A lot of kids these days only care that it looks good on their phone or tablet.

    If I get Blu-ray, it's for high quality shows/movies and I prefer to get a DVD with them. It's rare that I'll buy a Blu-ray only movie. I know that I in theory can back it up, but it's going to cost a bunch of money to get the software and hardware to do it. It's going to be a long time before I have a blu-ray collection that justifies it.

    That's really all they need to do, they need to package DVDs with Blu-ray discs at no extra cost. I get my digital backup and if I want to watch the movie in maximum quality, I can.

  • by GauteL ( 29207 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @04:43AM (#46926531)

    The picture quality is excellent and puts the streaming alternatives to shame. But every time I play a film that I've bought legally from a reputable shop, they treat me like a dirty, stinking pirate. I get shown lots of warnings and there's lots of unskippable propaganda sequences, I've even seen unskippable ads. Even worse, the player shows an obnoxious "this operation is illegal" when I attempt to skip these things and this warning requires an extra click to get rid of. I love buying a real physical disc and watching proper quality video on my TV, it feels much more like a proper movie night, but they were testing my patience from day 1 and this patience has run out.

    The lesson as I see it: don't treat your legitimate customers like criminals. The first thing pirates do is strip these obnoxious warnings.

  • by BVis ( 267028 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @08:53AM (#46927537)

    The reason nobody's buying Blu-Ray isn't soley because of the annoying DRM and non-skippable content and other generally user-hostile 'features' of the format. The average consumer doesn't give a shit about that (and will have no idea what DRM even is.) The reason is that they don't care about the quality loss in streaming content. How they can't see (on a big TV anyway) that the Blu-Ray looks 100% better than what you get from Netflix streaming boggles my mind, personally. When there's a movie that I want to see in good quality (think Man of Steel, Frozen, etc, just to name a couple recent ones) I go to Redbox to get the Blu-Ray. It looks better. Unfortunately, people don't give a shit.

    The war on picture/sound quality has, sadly, been won by the apathetic side. (Witness the demise of multichannel audio, DVD-Audio and SACD. Most people think a stereo 128-bit .mp3 file sounds fine. It doesn't.) I'll be renting Blu-Rays until streaming formats (and the necessary bandwidth) are available at the same bitrate as a Blu-Ray. But, the way things are going, BD will die and we'll be stuck with streaming movies that look like Tetris on a big screen. Another case of the consumer wanting 'cheap/convenient' over 'good', aka the Wal-Mart effect.

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault