How Long Will You Continue to Buy Discs?

Physical media took another hit this week with word that Samsung will no longer produce standard and 4K/Ultra HD Blu-ray players for sale in the U.S., leaving Sony, Panasonic, and LG to carry the BD hardware mantle.

The news comes on the heels of recent NPD VideoScan data that reveals 4K/UHD discs accounted for only 5% of sales among the top 50 titles for the week ended February 9; standard Blu-ray claimed 40% and DVD 55%. The numbers were reported by MediaPlayNews.com, which bills itself as the “voice of the home entertainment industry.”

Add to that Hollywood’s selective commitment to 4K on disc. Upcoming home video releases of The Favourite and Stan & Ollie, for example, will reportedly be released only on DVD and standard Blu-ray. Other upcoming releases that make no mention of 4K/UHD Blu-ray include Vice (due out April 2) and Holmes & Watson (due out April 9). Both movies will be released on DVD and standard Blu-ray, according to studio announcements.

Despite 4K-on-disc omissions, the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) put a positive spin on 4K Blu-ray in its 2018 year-end report, noting that 445 4K titles were available, compared with 682 digital 4K releases. In its Q3 2018 report, DEG said sales of 4K discs at that time translated into more than $162 million.

All of which brings us to your disc buying habits and how they are changing.

Be sure to leave a comment to share your thoughts on what many believe is the beginning of the end of physical media.

How Long Will You Continue to Buy Discs?
I’ll continue buying 4K discs for their superior performance as long as Hollywood makes them.
75% (1717 votes)
I’m thinking about cutting back on disc purchases as I start to stream more content.
4% (83 votes)
I’m already throttling back my disc purchases as I start to stream more content.
5% (117 votes)
My disc purchases are few and far between these days as I morph into a bona fide streamaholic.
8% (187 votes)
Discs are so 20th Century. It’s full stream ahead.
8% (175 votes)
Total votes: 2279

COMMENTS
rjmedich's picture

Loved the poll. But I'm not committed to only buying 4K/UHD discs. I also buy the occasional Blu-ray. I'm thinking the poll would have better served to cover them too (maybe even DVDs).

jnemesh's picture

It's the same price to buy digital only as it is to buy the physical disc, which ALSO comes with a code for streaming! I buy discs primarily because they look and sound better than streaming, and I also have the convenience of the streaming option when I travel. Why anyone would pay full price for streaming only is beyond me.

hk2000's picture

I think he meant streaming as a subscription. I don't think people are paying per stream fees as you would per disc. My answer was based on that idea- I hardly ever buy discs any more and the ones I have barely use, because I mostly rely on streaming services.

John CE's picture

In the poll I voted that I am already cutting back. When DVDs came out in 1997, the cost of disc dropped until about 5 years ago. That included blu-rays. My guess is that raising the price of disc covered the cost of green lighting movies that did not do well at the box office. When disc were cheap I would take a chance and buy it. They are so expensive now I wait until the movie hits Netflix or Amazon, unless I am very sure about it.. Also, because the aforementioned streaming services have some very good in house shows, I don't have enough time to watch as many disc.

dmoor's picture

"It's the same price to buy digital only as it is to buy the physical disc,"

is not always true. There are a number of web locations where you can purchase digital codes which can be used for Movies Anywhere, Vudu, iTunes. They can be much cheaper than the physical disk price. For example I purchased Minions 4K for $4.95, and Fifty Shades Darker in 4K for $3.95 during Black Friday sales. Minions Vudu HDX is currently $4.45. Amazon has both 4K physical disks for ~$20.

The lowest price for a physical 4k disk I see right now is $9.96 for "The Maze Runner", which is exceptionally low. The lowest price I generally see is ~$15.00 on blu-ray.com.

My main reason for staying with the physical disks is that I want lossless audio. I actually play them digitally, however, streaming them from a Plex server to my Oppo after I rip them. I simply do not have enough space for all of this physical media, so have to keep them in boxes. Even if I had the shelf space, it is so much faster using a media server than having to find the disk, insert it to play, eject it and put it back on the shelf. Seeing all my movies on the TV screen and selecting from there is much easier than finding a small 4K blu-ray case which may be hard to read in a dark corner, or browsing movies in my computer's CLZ Movies database and then grabbing the disk. Media servers are getting much better at including things as disk extras. But, again, the bottom line is I don't want the compressed sound on commercial digital purchases.

At the point that there is no visual or audio difference between commercial digital purchases and physical disks I will likely go just digital just for the sheer convenience. But I will be cautious, given things like Ultra-Violet closing up shop (though they seem to be allowing transfers to other services). I have heard of purchased iTunes movies not being available as they were yanked by the studio for some reason. New Netflix Marvel shows being discontinued due to the conflict with Disney being one example, although I don't think the existing episodes are disappearing. Having the physical disk means I don't have to worry about corporate conflicts, bankruptcies, whatever.

mars2k's picture

Yes I know...this is about sales however...what about rentals? I own 2 excellent Oppo universal players, a 203 and a 205. I rarely purchase discs as I rarely watch a movie twice.
Hi res music delivered on 4K media is another story. If its out there I'll consider it.
The 4K movie rental infrastructure never developed. IMHO that contributed to crippling 4K sales and market penetration. After all if 4K had been easier to get in the first place more people would be using it that landscape would have expanded and that would have driven more sales.
Physical media almost always provides content presentation and is my preferred method.
Also..is it me or are there just fewer watchable movies anymore?

Tommy Lee's picture

I also rent, from a nearby Family Video. Two bucks for 4K movies, no need to buy unless it's something we will watch many times. The sound seems much better than streaming, sometimes the picture is clearer as well. I hope they continue to produce 4K discs for many years!

Tangential's picture

Since you didn't offer this option ... Blu-Ray only until my projector breaks and I get a 4K one - and also on the proviso that 4K discs aren't as overpriced as they are now.

Traveler's picture

I haven't bought mainstream disks since I joined Netflix all those years ago (or before for that matter). I've bought a handful from SWV because they have titles that I can't find streamed. Still rent disks (95% dvd) from N because most things worth watching just aren't available online.

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