UHD Blu-ray disc sales are expected to increase 8-fold this year and Hollywood is expected to release as many new titles in the last 4 months of 2017 as in the first 8, the Blu-ray Disc Association told us when we met them at IFA in Berlin.
Busy 4 months ahead
Despite a decline in total sales of discs, the UHD Blu-ray format is seeing strong uptake. The BDA pointed to a number of factors as to why that is. First of all, UHD TV sales are on the rise, with one third of all households globally expected to have one by the end of 2021. Also, high-speed broadband adoption is lagging in many regions.
UHD Blu-ray disc sales are expected to increase 8-fold over 2016, according to figures shared with FlatpanelsHD by Telly Kim, Executive Director, New Technology Marketing at Warner Bros, and Spokesperson for the BDA. 20 million discs were sold last year.
Also, UHD disc player sales are up 133% so far in 2017, with major brands such as LG, Microsoft, Oppo, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, and Sony onboard. Over 300,000 players were sold in 2016.
The 4 months ahead will be particularly busy. In the first 8 months of 2017, Hollywood has released approximately 150 UHD discs. An additional 150 titles will be released before the end of 2017. There are some major titles in the mix, the BDA teased.
All major Hollywood studios
Disney recently joined the movement, which means that all major Hollywood studios are now backing the UHD Blu-ray format.
- “Ultra HD Blu-ray, both hardware and software, is experiencing strong double and triple digit growth,” said BDA. “All major Hollywood studios, and many local studios, are now publishing content on Ultra HD Blu-ray.”
Of course, streaming is growing, too. Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Vudu, and others have all started offering movies in 4K HDR. The BDA sees it as a positive trend, arguing that “coexistence remains critical”. Improved distribution will only encourage Hollywood studios to release more content in the highest possible quality.
Still, barriers remain in the quest to make 4K HDR content available to more consumers. While “awareness of 4K is relatively high, awareness of HDR remains low”, the BDA said – especially in southern Europe. That is why the association has launched several initiatives, including one to produce a set of educational videos to demonstrate the benefits of HDR, wide color gamut, immersive audio, and more. Expect to see them online in the near future.