Backers of the Blu-ray Disc format said that streaming entertainment is still a long way from strangling the business for high-def video discs, and, in fact, current Blu-ray players represent “the nerve center” of the home for their abilities to access both streaming and disc content.
Speaking Tuesday during a State of the Technology webinar hosted by the Blu-ray Disc Association, a multi-industry format promotional group, Andy Parsons, BDA U.S. promotion committee chair and Pioneer Electronics corporate communications senior VP, said, “We think that most people are buying BD players to watch movies in high definition as their first priority, and that they are also using streaming functions to get access to content they watch on a more casual, one-time basis.”
Many of those customers are actually streaming content through features on their Blu-ray players.
Arguing for even longer-term viability of the technology, Paul Erickson, consumer electronics senior analyst, said he sees Blu-ray continuing as a specific format, with much higher capacity than today to handle next-generation 4K video, 3D and other potential features. He gave physical and streamed media sharing “equal footing” with pay-TV services becoming much more developed in how they allow consumers to consume the content they’ve subscribed to on the various screens they own.
“Blu-ray’s content transportability to mobile devices will be mature, and common, and streaming will be far more accepted and understood by consumers today,” Ericson said. “Blu-ray will still be around, I believe, as part of the various ways and means by which people can legitimately and purchase and consume media across their varied devices.”
Regarding the status of 4K as a Blu-ray standard, Parsons said: “At present, the BDA is not working on a 4K version of Blu-ray, but if and when the time comes to do that, we believe the 50GB capacity should allow us to accommodate the much higher data rates that 4K sources require.”
As for other new BD feature developments, Rich Marty, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment emerging platform development and marketing VP, said, “The industry continues to evaluate and improve the new UltraViolet virtual content locker system, including sign-on” as the first UltraViolet-enabled Blu-ray Disc players are readied for market.
“Currently, a consumer can utilize Walmart’s Vudu service to aggregate and watch all of their movies in one place,” he pointed out. “Over time, we expect that the UltraViolet process will become even more streamlined, with the possibility of including direct Blu-ray Disc redemption from a connected player.”