After months of rumors, Samsung has confirmed to Forbes and AVCesar that it is leaving the UHD Blu-ray market. Who is next in line?
First Oppo, now Samsung
Samsung was first to jump in and second to jump out. Following in the footsteps of Oppo, Samsung has seemingly decided that it is not worth the effort to participate in the UHD Blu-ray market.
Rumors started circulating last year but at that time Samsung declined to comment on the matter. The company did not introduce new products at IFA 2018 and CES 2019, which only added fuel to the fire.
Samsung had originally planned to introduce two new UHD Blu-ray players in 2018 but that plan was later abandoned. At CES 2019 in January, Samsung told FlatpanelsHD that “current players are being phased out and no new products have been announced”. Forbes reports that Samsung had planned a single high-end player for 2019 but that the plan has been scrapped and that Samsung is “no longer going to be making any new models of 4K Blu-ray player”. AVCesar reports that the decision also affects conventional HD Blu-ray players.
The Blu-ray Disc Association maintains that the UHD Blu-ray format is a success but with two prominent companies, Oppo and Samsung, out of the picture, it is getting harder and harder to believe those claims. It also makes you wonder who is next in line. LG? Microsoft Xbox? Sony?
What now, HDR10+?
The timing is peculiar. Samsung has been trying to establish HDR10+ as a royalty-free alternative to Dolby Vision, and its Blu-ray players were seen as one of two launch ramps for enabling playback of HDR10+. HDR10+ discs are just now starting to become available.
Other companies will continue to sell UHD Blu-ray players capable of spinning HDR10+ discs, with Panasonic being the most notable. However, Panasonic has started to implement Dolby Vision in most of its players. HDR10+ is also supported by Pioneer, who produces high-end UHD Blu-ray players in small numbers, and Oppo, which has abandoned the disc market. It begs the question: Why should studios release discs in HDR10+?
The other launch ramp for HDR10+ is streaming and while HDR10+ may continue to expand its footprint here, it is now facing an even steeper uphill climb.