Will Blu-Ray Be Obsolete in Four Years?

If you’re upgrading your DVD collection to Blu-Ray, the CEO of Roku says you shouldn’t bother. Roku CEO Anthony Wood predicts that Blu-Ray players will be obsolete within four years.

At an event in San Francisco called the “TV of Tomorrow” show, he told the crowd that people will stop using Blu-Ray players in four years.

He says that as streaming content becomes more and more the norm, people will begin to abandon the now popular disc format the way we abandoned VHS for DVD.

Of course, Wood has an interest in seeing streaming content take off. His company produces devices that allow users to easily stream content to television sets. And, there are also the multitude of game consoles that allow streaming as well these days. And there are also Internet connected sets.

What this prediction doesn’t take into account is the fact that the infrastructure for U.S. broadband isn’t equipped to handle wide-spread use of streaming.

And the fact that some of us have spent years collecting Doctor Who on DVD after collecting the entire series on VHS and there’s no way we’re collecting it all again…


  1. Gazerbeam says

    I, for one, will never go to an all-streaming model because I *like* haveing something I own, that I can watch even if the internet is not working for whatever reason. It’s my main knock also against recent PC games, requiring that you be online for even the single-player portion.

    • Dave in NY says


      If Blu does go the way of the Dodo, then I’ll at least have everything on the best physical format made.

    • Christopher Young says

      yep…I’m too old to change my ways now, but those kids just starting to get interested in collecting media may choose something newer than Blu-Ray (whether that’s digital content saved on cloud storage, or something else)

    • Alverant says

      I agree. If the media service goes under you lost the money you spent buying their media. Having something physical means you can still watch something you paid for despite a hard drive crash. You could also sell it, something you can’t do with streaming services, when you’re done. Streaming has physical limits set by the broadband in your area. If I want to go to a friends house and bring a movie to share, I can do that with physical media. You can’t do that with a streaming service (or if you can, it’s inconvient when compared to putting a disc in a player).

  2. startrekmom says

    I agree with everything Gazerbeam said. I hate that I have to not only pay for the game, but a subscription to be able to play single-player. Why not include that in the price of the game? I find it hard to believe it is predicted to only take 4 years.

    And I wouldn’t consider it until you can watch anything the same way you would at home. Most streaming sites I have used don’t have chapter skip buttons, and scrolling through to the place you want is not always easy or accurate.

    And what about the fact that sometimes we buy DVDs & BLU-RAYs simply for the extra stuff, like commentary, deleted scenes etc. This has been denied in most places to force us to buy the hard copy.

  3. Dan Vzare says

    He’s right that the Blu-Ray will be replaced in four years, he’s wrong that it’s streaming content. Because in four years there’s gonna be an even bigger and better disc which would take weeks if not months to transfer entirely over the internet.

    • jjj says

      They looooove the streaming thing. Getting the consumers to give away their rights and enforce controlled playback is a dream come true. EULAs and DMCA tried but failed, with streaming we will be constantly asking permission.

      Here’s right the Blu-Ray is dying though (it never lived actually). Online distribution (whether it’s streaming or torrents or similar) and a local hard disk is all we need.

  4. Perry says

    “And the fact that some of us have spent years collecting Doctor Who on DVD after collecting the entire series on VHS and there’s no way we’re collecting it all again…”

    So you take your DVds, buy a NAS with storage, and make a personal copy of the DVDs. No upgrade and reinvestment required for the forseeable future.

  5. not me says

    I just wish Hollywood would realize how much money they would make if they let us buy new releases online after they’re out. Let it play in the theater for a week or two, then let me pay $5 – $10 to stream it. That would greatly reduce people wanting to download the movie that some dude filmed from his seat.

  6. sprOOnz says

    And what about quality? the “HD” streamed today is not the Blu-ray HD ; far from it. When streaming of real HD video (not compressed stuff) is available, let’s talk again, maybe.

  7. says

    If Roku really wants to see streaming become the new normal, then they should work to help improve the current infrastructure (both wired and wireless), find ways to help expand the infrastructure into rural and semi-remote areas, and find ways to make it more affordable in lower income areas, because while it’s not the perfect solution, having Internet access can help make up for a going to a school that has textbooks that are a decade or more out of date.

    Then they could play Xbox Live or watch the latest episode of Degrassi 2099 or iCarly or whatever online after they’ve finished their homework online.

  8. ditto says

    He’s also completely ignoring licensing. Sure, you can stream if the content is available. What happens when a group like the BBC pulls your local license? You won’t be able to watch. That’s why a lot of us buy. We don’t want to be subject to the whims of someone else.

    • says

      I have to admit I’ve become a LOT more selective with the buying over the past 3-5 years or so. I look at DVDs on my shelves now, and if I can’t recall the last time I watched, they move up higher on my list of things to sell or trade.

      All 7 seasons of Buffy for instance, as well as both seasons of Dark Angel… at the top of my “outta here” list now, but the used stores aren’t taking in a lot of stuff they already have copies of, and Buffy would likely be on their “no sale” list. Not sure about “Profit” or “Action!”

      Nowadays, I would prefer streaming something if I can’t watch it on TV, rather than try to rent the season on DVD. Most shows out there these days are not ones I’d want to buy full seasons of anymore because I wouldn’t watch them enough (both for time and cost reasons).

      The thing now is to find some of the older stuff before it becomes “unavailable”.

  9. waelse1 says

    Don’t see streaming taking over. Netflix for instance doesn’t have the $$$$$ needed to sign deals to stream much premium content, and that probably won’t improve. Apple and Amazon haven’t stepped up either. Disks aren’t going anywhere.

  10. Crapface says

    There are still a lot of people who are not hooked up to the net, I don’t see them getting rid of hard copies any time soon.
    It is a nice idea but there is a lot of people who like to hold the item that they own.

  11. Aloysius says

    That’s ‘immersive VR holography with a neurally induced sensorium'(TM) allowing you to view and feel the TruLife(TM) experience of the actors using point and select POV to connect to the actor of your choice.

  12. Kylephantom4 says

    I don’t think dvd will ever become obsolete, but blu ray could. DVD, well, the world keeps getting too use to things and its like, there is an immediate change. Streaming videos, well first off, its takes up memory, and alot of streaming requires internet. Having something I own to watch without using up my memory and use of internet, say when I’m temporarily disconnected. I think the world is advancing too quickly…..really too quick, and we need to slow down

  13. says

    Funny thing is I actually agree, back during the digital transition (from analog to digital TV transition) I was working in the electronics department of a major retailer. Me and my co worker we’re making jokes that we’d NEVER get rid of the truck load of Digital Converters that come in….cause u KNOW…… everyone’s either got CABLE OR SATELLITE NOW DAYS……..WRONG……..we never could keep enough of them….which now that I live back in the county realize it not just viable…… it’s also sometimes the only thing either available or inexpensive enough to have (on a Antenna myself now) I believe that given the depth, time lenght of sales and expense factor DVD like the CD and TV ANTENNA will have it’s place in the tech field ……believe it or NOT!!!!

  14. Mike T. says

    Blu Ray is already obsolete! Everyone is moving towards digital downloads and those so called hauppage or PVR personal home video recorders that are built on hard disc. The technology was incredibly brand new but it became obsolete so quickly because of one factor. No one wants to be involved in non recordable single use media. Digital hard disc players/recorders can be used eternally you can record new movies and tv shows as much as you want transferring data on to that media player simply by plugging it to computer via USB cable. The major privilege on that one is that there are no region limitations unlike dvd/blu rays. So in short the optic media recorders are used only on computer installation discs as for media they’re time is over. Plus the only people who still continue using blu ray and dvd players are those who payed a lot of money when they just came out and don;t want to trash them yet. But that was they’re mistake never invest nor rush to buy something new in technology, as technology is bound to have a much lower price just in one two years time.

    • AndyMac says

      How about you come to my house and try to stream a movie in hi def? A 25GB movie will only take a week to to download.

      There are LARGE portions of this country that don’t have access to any sort of high speed internet, let alone the speeds that would allow hi-def streaming. When I watch a movie on my 9 foot wide screen I want the best possible quality. I can’t get that on streaming and it will likely be a long time until I can.

      On top of that, I can go back an watch any movie I own any time I want. If I’m streaming then I’m stuck with what Netflix allows me to see. I was actually in the middle of watching a movie and hit pause, planning to watch the rest the next day. When I tried to watch the rest I found it had been removed from Netflix streaming.

      So in order for the “streaming dream” to come true we need:
      1) True high speed internet speeds nation wide
      2) Studios allowing more of their content to be available on streaming

      Until those two things happen I will continue to buy physical media.

  15. Mike T. says

    I also forgot to add that only video games will be used on blu ray, but even there is a big chance they will be replaced by usb thumbdrives or something like HU cards that were on turbografx 16. Faster speed and at current game prices pretty much plausible.

  16. says

    the only people who still continue using blu ray and dvd players are those who payed a lot of money when they just came out and don;t want to trash them yet

    Um, Mike… do you have any clue how completely stupid that statement is? The consumer DVD players people are familiar with these days first came out in 1995, and I seriously doubt that any players that old are still operational. The first one I bought in 1997 wasn’t expensive, and it didn’t even last 8 years. They burn out and die; I’ve had to buy 3 replacement players in the past 10 years, and the last one I bought cost $59 or $69 because it’s also a DVD recorder. Anyone can get DVD players for $40 or less almost anywhere, $20 if you really look around for a sale.

    I know a lot of people who didn’t start buying Blu-Ray discs until they got game consoles that also played those movie discs, and when I eventually get a Blu-Ray player, it may well be a game console.

    But discs aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Hell VHS tapes are still being used by a lot of people, interchanged with DVDs (go to a used media store on a weekend and see how many people still buy used VHS tapes and DVDs of kids movies for their own kids).

    Physical media isn’t susceptible to power failures, drive failures, and Internet outages… their sales numbers may slowly decline as more people adopt newer systems, but until Internet in the US is fiber from coast to coast, there are just too many places outside of major metropolitan areas that simply do not have the infrastructure to let everyone stream anything whenever they want. Not to mention the fact that some of those streaming services put limits and restrictions on what you can watch. No worry of not being able to watch the last 4 episodes of that TV show season you were making your way through.

  17. Laith Preston says

    I agree with Summer and the others. While I did get into DVD early on, we didn’t get a Blu-Ray player until there was a cheap one on the black friday sales this past fall.

    Overall we do streaming for most things, but we still invest in the disks for movies/shows we really like.

    One thing that streaming or to some extent digital copies won’t work for is a film for the kids to watch during part of a long road trip. sure we could throw a copy of Wreck It Ralph onto an ipod or something… but that works for 1 kid… maybe 2 if they are in a reasonable mood.
    a cheap headrest mount dvd player works so much better for the three to watch something distracting for a bit.

    Also as folks have pointed out, streaming has a few drawbacks: 1 quality, 2 if the rights get pulled, 3 if your connection isn’t great.

  18. montie ho says

    Well.. Its now 2015. Blurays are still around and disks (bluray/dvd) are still 2/3 the market. Comcast (the biggest entertainternet provider in my area) soft caps at 300 gb. I often exceed that cap even though i dont download movies illegally. (I and my family view twitch.tv and youtube and ofc netflix regularly.) I have been using on-demand more which does not count against my cap. Although its more expensive than redbox, I dont have to leave my house. There are still lots of people that dont like watching movies on their tablet/laptop and dont have roku like devices, or dont want to pay extra for exceeding caps, or dont have decent internet. Internet providers are stuck in 2005 where the people would get highspeed connections and only use them for email and surfing. Ultimately there is such a benefit of ‘offline’ entertainment that in the real world (where people sometimes fall behind on their cable bills and would be facing no access to their paid for movie collection) that physical media may not ever die.

  19. Dean D says

    Reading some of these comments from a few years ago really shows just how clueless people are as time has proven them wrong. The picture quality Blu Ray offers is superior to standard DVDs. The price of Blu Ray discs has also come down a lot over the past years. You can get most Blu Ray discs for less than $10 and used ones are just as good as new ones. I do streaming too but a couple dozen of my favorite movies I purchased on Blu Ray and can watch them whenever I wish, not worry about subscriptions and get the highest quality picture to date. I am purchasing a few more Blu Ray discs until I complete my collection.

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