Poll: Are Blu-ray and DVD movies now obsolete?


The industry has seen a big leap from streaming and cloud services, especially the past year. According to a study held by IHS Screen Digest, about 3.4 billion movies will be legally streamed during 2012, more than double compared to 2011’s 1.4 billion. A phenomena that could very well be making physical media like Blu-rays and DVDs obsolete.

According to the same research, 2012 will see a 7.7% drop in physical media, with an estimated 2.4 billion blu-ray and DVD movies being watched. This means that streamed movies will officially be crossing the threshold as the most used form of watching movies.

This comes as no surprise, as more devices become compatible with services like Netflix and Hulu. Streaming and cloud services are starting to make media more accessible and affordable. One can watch a movie or show via netflix on most tablets and smartphones, gaming consoles, smart TVs and (of course) computers. Not only that, but such services are synced among all platforms, making the experience much more seamless.

According to the IHS, unlimited services are also much more popular, accounting for 94% of streaming viewership. Only 1.3 percent comes from pay-per-view services like iTunes. Something that may have the industry worried, as customers are paying much less for streaming media, on average, compared to physical media ($0.51 compared to $4.72).

But one must also take into account that streamed media does not need to be physically manufactured. Meaning that profits could very well be better as more users start joining such services. And with such services become more popular, the shift will become eminent.

I have not purchased a DVD or Blu-ray movie in many years. Last one was Pan’s Labyrinth, back in 2007. Since then, I have relied in services like Netflix to take care of my needs. This was before smartphones and tablets reached their full boom. Now, such services are available from most devices with a screen, making it even more convenient for the consumer.

One no longer has to walk anywhere to stream a movie. And it can be done from the comfort of one’s bed. Or while riding the bus, taking a road-trip and even while sitting at the almighty throne. And it is just as easy to switch from device to device, as many services now remember where one left off.

Why would I purchase a more expensive DVD or Blu-ray disc? It costs about the same (most times more) as my monthly Netflix subscription and is far from offering the convenience that streaming services feature.

Certainly, there must still be a market for it. Especially considering the fact that streamed movie quality is nowhere close to Blu-ray movie quality, in terms of high definition. Which may still be a great incentive to continue to purchase Blu-ray movies. But as technology advances, we may see this changing.

Very soon, Blu-ray discs will become the new VHS tapes. Old, obsolete and something completely extraneous to the newest generations. But we would like to know what our audience thinks of this topic. Please take a few seconds to participate in our poll and let us know what you think.

[polldaddy poll=6075665]

[Source: IHS Screen Digest Via: The Verge]

Edgar Cervantes

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  1. For new-release movies, and discounted blu-rays, nothing beats the quality and enjoyment offered by them; they’re for the movies you watch with the whole family with full-blown snacks, environment, and relaxation. Streaming’s more catered towards the casual movie, to watch when one’s bored and just wants to chill.

  2. Three words: Criterion Collection Blu-rays. =D

  3. As someone who takes their home theater setup pretty seriously, you can’t beat having countless non-transcoded Blu-ray rips all sitting on a networked media server just ready to stream at their original 1080p resolution and full bit rates… online streaming still can’t match that at this moment in time. That being said, the actual discs themselves, though, are pretty useless… a Blu-ray drive and MakeMKV are pure magic (:

  4. Eventually many local data storage options will end up obsolete. Because it’s more convenient accessing things online especially because people want their data on multiple devices.

    1. Yeah, I would drink the cool-aid just yet. When joeuser uploads all his pics, music and what not to “the cloud” and the service he picks gets taken out for whatever reason … and all his data is gone because he had no local media backups because “the cloud” is the future. Yeah … he and lots of others like him will be pissed.

      So .. did the paperless society we were promised 15 years ago happen? Nope.

      1. Who promised a paperless society?

        1. The same pundits, tech geeks and whatnot that are pushing “the cloud” today. I guess one has to be a greybeard to remember all this talk 10-12 years ago. :)

        2. Pretty much everyone a decade or two ago. Now we use more paper than ever. Ooops!

        3. IBM, Microsoft, Apple, pretty much any tech company in the late 70’s early 80’s.

  5. I must admit that I got a ps3 last christmas….and I have yet to see a bluray…although my family really enjoys neflix there, and on the 3ds and in my android devices…this is only in my household.Must be noted that I am really into streaming and downloading….so my family really accepts the streaming of movies and accessibility, have not rented a movie in like 4 years…or more.And the last movies I bought were when inetvideo was having hd-dvd blowout sale a couple of years back….

  6. While I do stream stuff, I just can’t trust the cloud/streaming. What about on a day when you lose internet? Nope, you won’t be using the cloud or streaming then. (Which are prime movie days usually.) What about those long plane rides? Forget it. (Again, another prime movie situation and sometimes the airline’s IFE doesn’t have anything of interest.) Live somewhere that has a stingy or slow internet provider (or maybe you’re trying to use the ever shrinking mobile data plan)? Good luck!

    No, there just needs to be some sort of physical media. Besides, there are certain movies that I prefer to actually own and physically have in hand. I’ve bought them in every format they have been available in (VHS, DVD, BD) and will buy them in whatever coming media allows for future developments such as 4K and 8K. (Just think about trying to stream a 4K or 8K movie!?!)

  7. Netflix doesn’t have extra footage like blu ray. I am into that. Also netflix doesn’t New releases for the $7.99.

  8. vudu beats bluray in every way shape or form

  9. there are a larger percentage of people in the US who don’t have a reliable broadband,  or no broadband, or capped broadband which makes DVD/BluRays still a viable option.   Grab some coffee and sit in your car next to an external Red Box unit near a CVS.   You will see a steady stream of people checking out DVDs.  

    While streaming may have put Blockbuster out of business, that and their business practices, there are still quite a few people renting movies.

    1. I agree completely.

      Although I think it was the Netflix disc-by-mail and Redbox that really hurt Blockbuster, not so much streaming media.

  10. blu-ray was obsolete when it was created. i was watching movies on my xbox that was connected to my computer. or i was renting movies from an ancient service called on demand by the cable company.

    1. You don’t have a good HDTV, do you?

      1. Not any more back then i did but ive since sold it due to needing extra cash for rent

  11. Streaming is nowhere near beating Blu-ray in terms of video bitrate, quality, and audio. Seriously, what services can stream lossless DTS-HD?

    Streaming is dominant for the casuals, Blu-ray is dominant for the enthusiasts. DVD is quickly becoming the new VHS.

    1. actually Vudu’s HDX movies are at Blu Ray Quality

      1. Who wants to pay $6 for a rental in HDX when you can go to a Redbox and rent the bluray for $1.50?  Not for me.

      2. Having watched HDX movies on Vudu and owning a BD player, all on the same display… no, they aren’t.

        Vudu can say whatever they want, but just because something is “1080p” doesn’t make it BD quality. The lossy hyper-compression necessary definitely shows through.

        1.  i think vudu looks amazing on my led tv but i agree fuk 6$ i just go sd

      3. One word – Bandwidth.

        The majority of people looking to stream Blu-ray quality movies will not meet the minimum required to stream uncompressed blu ray quality.

  12. Both work side-by-side in my household.  We like the extras and portability that we have with physical media (dvd in the car is a God-send on long trips with little kids). We like the ease of use that we have with on-demand services like Netflix and DirecTV.

  13. Streaming may be increasing in popularity now, but with more users ending up on capped mobile data plans there will come a time when streaming to your heart’s content is no longer cost effective.

  14. Putting my 2 cents worth or is that 2 pence worth as I am a Brit?  Here in the UK we have only just got netflix It will be a long time before we see streaming as replacing physical media owing to the fact that a) the idea is still new here b) we don’t have as good a broadband infrastructure in the UK as the states offer and c) we don’t have good 3g access in a lot of places here either and there is no talk of 4g just yet.

    I’d like to see it in some ways go to streaming completely for Hi Def quality stuff but for now and for some time in the future I can see us using media, for many of the reasons outlined above as well as those I have listed

  15. There will always be a market for “hard media” because people like to have collections to fill their shelves, just like people still buy books for their home libraries.

    1. I will always buy a dvd of a movie I like to have it in my collection even if I never watch it again.  I feel like a movie collection is a reflection of one’s personality.

      1. I haven’t bought a DVD in 1.5 years… Unsurprisingly, that’s the amount of time I’ve been subscribing to Netflix…

    2. Agreed. For me, Kindles and Nooks are cool for magazines and such, but I’m an avid reader, and whenever possible, I like to get a signed first-edition copy of a book from an author I like. Not really the same as having a Kindle on your shelf.
      By the same token, If I really like a movie that I know I’m going to end up seeing multiple times over the years, I buy the Blu-Ray, or BD/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack if they’re available.

  16. It should have but with the greedy studios trying to hike streaming fees it can’t. The MPAA is greedy and against progress as it loses them money.

  17. This is also a very first world discussion … great swaths of this country do not have the means to go without physical media.

  18. Not obsolete… you bring your woman home to your iPad & stream a video on it with “pop”corn in hand. Not romantic.

  19. I haven’t used optical media for years now. I’ve long-since ripped my CD collection, and have Windows & Linux installers on USB keys, stream most of my media, and upload stuff for friends, or loan USBkeys, instead of burning throwaway DVD-Rs. If the rare need pops up to access a disc I can just use the dusty old one in a spare laptop or an external.

    But optical isn’t dying fast enough for me, as evidenced by the fact that it’s still near impossible to buy a nice PC micro-atx or mini-itx WITHOUT the useless optical bay staring back at you. Have my heart set on a Lian Li PCQ11B miniitx case despite the optical slot.

  20. Some of us don’t live in the city and can’t get fast internet.  So no, physical media is a must.

  21. I haven’t rented a movie in longer than I can remember, I haven’t bought a movie in even longer than that. I just hook up my tablet to my TV :)

  22. Streaming is not ownership. When I was a kid, we rented most movies and I bought physical copies of things that I thought were worth having in my collection to watch at any time, probably because I’d end up spending a fortune if I actually rented the movie as many times as I wanted to watch it.

    Internet rental is pretty much the same as rental from the store – you should probably buy a physical copy if you’re going to end up renting it a million times.

    Streaming fails to match physical because of reliability. Movies on Netflix sometimes have viewing windows, degrade in quality when someone else in your house is using the internet, and aren’t available when your ISP has an outage. That’s to say nothing of quality.

    You rent/stream things that you don’t care about their reliability or if you’re only going to watch them like once or maybe twice. You buy physical copies of things you want you have in your collection at all times (probably in maximum fidelity with all the bonus features because you’re a super fan).

  23. I own a lot of DVD players and I haven’t watched a DVD for 3 YEARS. Anybody who still does is behind on the times.

  24. You’d think all these people pushing the “latest trend” would compare notes and get on the same page.

    On one hand, you have all the tech companies pushing “everything in the cloud! Physical media is dead! All movies will be streamed in the future!”

    On the other hand, you have the ISPs saying, “Unlimited is dead! Metered bandwidth and monthly caps are the future!”

    Am I the only person who sees the problem here? Especially when the size of the media we watch is growing exponentially-faster than the caps on our internet plans?

    Quite frankly, F the cloud. Anyone who thinks “streaming is the future” can’t do math and is one of the lucky elite spoiled with perfect and ridiculously-fast internet connections. Me, the fastest DSL plan I could get wouldn’t be able to keep up with the bandwidth necessary to match what comes off a Blu-ray disk, and there’s no way I’m paying for my top plan anyway just to stream the occasional movie. The cost premium isn’t worth it and is better spent on growing my physical disc library with stuff that is MINE, I can watch anytime, share, and resell.

    1.  Even the Broadband companies for Cable and DSL have caps on their Data. Once you reach the ever changing X amount of Data download, they either bottle neck it, cap it, and/or request that you switch your “Residential Plan” to a “Business Plan”
      And with Gaming Companies like Atari and Activation/Blizzard releasing their new games and expansion packs on the cloud to download (add new debate here for no discount when purchasing direct from the game maker / publisher vs the retail store) this also bumps up the total amount of Data that some people are downloading.

  25. Maybe if I could get ALL new releases in a monthly service like netflix. Until then, no. Still gotta have my hard copies.

  26. Honestly for me it comes down to content and affordability.

    No streaming options currently offer everything, or at least a whole lot of options, and they won’t until all the content owners (who have bet the farm on cable, and other traditional distribution methods) actually come around and realize that streaming is the wave of the future.
    And I really don’t want to pay a monthly fee. Absolutely EVERYTHING has a monthly fee it seems like, at least for premium content. Hulu Plus, Netflix, some Roku channels, Spotify, etc.. By the time I’m done paying all these subscription fees I’ll be in hundreds of dollars of bills. I already have an internet bill, cell phone bill, rent, utilities, insurance, loan payments…you get the picture. The last thing I want is another monthly bill that zaps my income. I would like a generally free system with on demand rentals that would be on par with redbox rentals.
    Until that happens physical media will be the best choice for movies.

  27. >3.4 billion movies will be legally streamed during 2012

    AFAICT, not much illegal streaming.

    But I’d guess that BitTorrent serves much more than 3.4 billion movies annually.

  28. streaming services are easy to use, and affordable and for a comedy or something light watching it on Netflix is fine, but for good movies and movies I want to watch over and over I want it on blu-ray and with the caps isp’s are implementing I don’t think we’ll get anywhere near blu-ray quality streaming that is affordable any time soon, I need my true 1080p, not compressed to hell HD and HD audio for my surround sound system, dvd and blu-ray sales are sure to slow somewhat because of streaming but I think physical media still has a long time to go.

  29. For me personally, Netflix serves as a streaming service for me to watch movies I normally wouldn’t rent. I still buy films on Bluray and DVD, and I still watch premium movie channels, such as HBO and Cinemax. Now that I think about it, I should probably get out of the house more often O_o

  30. Does Netflix and Hulu do 3D instant streaming? No, so I will be sticking with Blu-rays. Streaming services are only good for watching movies I would probably not pay for and for TV shows.

  31. Not everyone has the high bandwidth available to them that is required to stream disc-quality movies.  Until that happens, there will always be a market for atoms over bits. 

  32. My ISP(time warner) hates when I stream anything from netflix. I love my blurays they don’t freeze up get pixelated or have to catch up plus the sound is spot on.

  33. Streaming is cool for casual browsing thru shit when ur bored.  Blu-Ray is better quality and usually has more features and certain types are great to collect.  The Netflix app on my phone is barely even an option anymore unless I’m in a free WiFi zone because of data caps, and I’m rarely any place with WiFi for that long  anyway except for home.

  34. Streaming isn’t nearly up-to-par picture-wise with an actual Blu-Ray disc. As some others have mentioned, I like to have a library of movies. Actual physical discs, not a menu on a screen. In most cases these days, people have tiered data (I’m lucky enough to have grandfathered unlimited Verizon LTE – for now). I often see people talk about how wonderful the cloud is, but I prefer to have my stuff on hard drives, SD cards, discs, etc.

  35. Very few comments here mention the (potential) value-add of purchasing physical media.
    1) Multiple Audio stream choices & languages
    2) Choice of subtitles
    3) Additional content !!
    4) Artwork/Packaging for your shelf

    (1) & (2) are a big deal. Children often want to see a movie in their native language rather than read (if they can) subtitles. Also, subtitles’ control is important if you’re deaf or non-native English speaker. Or perhaps the actors mumble and you don’t want to jack up the volume at 1am. Netflix does not give you any of this.

    I pay for & enjoy my Netflix streaming, but the breadth of content is NOT good. Most *quality* movies we look for are not there, and things we have streamed in the past are now removed. It is NOT a reliable library for your favorite movies. Just as the radio or Pandora does not replace collecting your own music. I’ve had to resort to online rentals in some cases (since all the BlockBusters and the like are gone) when I want to see a older movie that Redbox doesn’t have.

    (3) is a big value add. Lord of the Rings is a great example. The dozens of hours of additional content on the discs add value to the product. This coupled with a Commentary track (1) are great for collectors.

    If all you want is a bare-bones movie experience, *purchasing* a digital copy online is still better than perpetually renting it or relying on a streaming service.

    my 2 cents.

  36. Eh, I have a 32TB Media server setup. No need for any hard media unless the server counts as such

  37. It amazes me that a majority seem to prefer quality over convenience.  It always goes the other way.  Yay people!  Not being stupid for a change.

  38. The average internet speed in the UK is what 3.5Mbps? and a bandwidth cap of maybe 30GB average?

    So no, not even close to being obsolete. In fact at this rate I can’t see it being a viable alternative for at least 10 years nevermind the other issues.

  39. We already have done this to music so this was inevitable although will be a much slower process.

  40. Until everyone can get a good broadband connection, no, disks aren’t going anywhere.  My uncle barely gets dial up speeds on his dsl connection.  Before the first douche says he should move, he’s a farmer, so no, he doesn’t need to move, as long as you like you McFatPills.

  41. I think it’s quite apparent DVDs and DISCS in general are becoming
    obsolete, but there is still a small demand for this dying enterprise. 
    I’m glad I have a DISH account where I can get the best of both worlds,
    streaming AND DISC.  I have been beefing up the multimedia technology in
    my house over the past year, and love my Sling Adapter, HD/DVR receiver
    and the multi-platform approach DISH delivers.  With my Sling Adapter,
    and the free DISH remote Access app I can take my TV and DVR with me
    whenever I leave the house.  I use it on my Android, but it works on
    dozens of different devices and OS.  It lets me catch live action as if I
    were watching at home, and lets me watch or set DVR recordings.  I can
    also go to Dishonline.com to get movies, shows and more on my laptop or
    PC.  A few of my DISH coworkers and I signed up for these services
    around the same time last month, and are always comparing new and cool
    ways we found to enjoy our TV more.  DISH does a great job bringing
    Sling and Remote Access to my home TV system.

  42. I’ll take bluray over streaming any day. In fact, most days, I’d take DVD over streaming as well.
    I currently do netflix streaming and red box. 

  43. Dvd and blueray aren’t going anywhere, ever! I’m interested to see what xbox will do with their next console.

  44. Streaming quality has a long way to go before it can even begin to compete with Blu Ray.

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