Blu-ray 4K may die before it’s even released thanks to streaming 4K

by on June 24, 2014

by Stephan Jukic – June 24th, 2014

While viewers can already watch existing Blue-ray discs on their 4K Ultra high definition screens and even make them look better than they already do thanks to the upscaling engines most 4K TVs have for turning regular content into 3,840 x 2160p UHD content, Blue-ray 4K at least seemed to be something that’s in the works.

However, this may soon change as Sony Corporation, the main manufacturer of Blu-ray disc releases reanalyzes its entire Blu-ray related business model. It seems that Sony is coming to the slow realization that the entire idea of physical delivery of entertainment content seems to be dying out anyhow.

The electronics giant recently announced that they were expecting to incur financial losses of roughly 25 billion Yen on their overseas disc manufacturing business, particularly in Europe. According to the company, the expected demand for content delivered over physical media is shrinking faster than expected and consequently, current manufacturing output of Blu-ray discs is simply not covering its own costs with sufficient sales revenues.

In essence, Sony is revising its expectations about the future profitability of Blu-ray in particular and physical movie/content delivery in general.

This isn’t to say that Blu-ray itself is quite yet dead or even close to it. In fact, sales of Blu-ray worldwide are still rising but the future life expectancy of the business model is possibly starting to go the way of the dodo and if Sony, who is the biggest supporter of Blu-ray on the market today, is showing doubts, then the entire industry is looking more doubtful as a continued business model.

Given these facts and possibilities, the chances of Sony investing even more money on infrastructure and manufacturing of the new supposedly upcoming next generation of Blu-ray discs that come in 4K format are not looking good.

The bottom line is that implementing and releasing Blue-ray 4K on any sort of commercial retail scale would require the cooperative coordination and investment not just from Sony itself but also from a whole roster of other companies in varied entertainment and electronics related industries.

So far, representatives from the Blu-ray Disc Association and Sony are both evading a firm answer on whether or not they’ll go ahead with Blu-ray 4K.

The thing is that streaming content delivery, especially thanks to the services of companies such as Netflix, is becoming ever more popular in many households with decent or better broadband connectivity. People want convenience and easy access and streaming content delivers on both far better than any physical disc can in today’s constantly web connected home environments.

Also, given that Netflix is already starting to stream 4K content and expand its selection of shows and movies in UHD, the basic framework for streaming 4K content is already in place and being sold.

Granted, there are still problems with transmitting the sheer volume of data that 4K content consists of via broadband connections, but the long term investment value of improving those connections so they can handle it is worth more than a transient investment in developing superior 4K Blu-ray discs. The discs will eventually go out of style anyhow while more data capable broadband will have far more long term value.

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