Blu-ray is about to have a bumper year, according to Samsung, but mainly because it is being integrated within multimedia, video-streaming Smart devices or bundled with home cinema systems.
Pocket-lint caught up with the vice president of consumer electronics Samsung UK, Andy Griffiths, during the company's European Forum in Budapest, Hungary, and he exclusively told us that, while the format has been around for a while, it is only now gaining mass adoption: "Although we’ve all talked about HD for a long time, Blu-ray is becoming mass-market for the first time," he said.
However, with high definition video content now being available from multiple sources and some companies knocking out players at ludicrously cheap prices, the success of the disc format is becoming reliant on other factors, including other forms of media: "If you look at the entry price points of Blu-ray now, some other brands were a lot cheaper than us at Christmas. But I would point out that a majority of our business is in step-up models," said Griffiths. "For us, the step up this year is even more clear, straight into Smart.
"Fine, it’s a HD-quality disc, but it’s all about upgrading your existing TV into the Smart world."
And that means expanding the remit to include Internet-provided content, video-on-demand and streamed movies, rather than just the traditional disc-based experience. For Samsung, a Blu-ray player no longer just plays Blu-rays.
So, rather than throw its eggs into a Blu basket, it is welcoming the arrival of HD content from all angles: "Freeview HD is also just kicking in as a mainstream experience in 2011," he told us. "And you’ve got a lot of Sky HD boxes out there now. Add to that the video-on-demand services and, for us, it’s just filling out the initial potential of HD."
Griffiths also explained that the market is being largely driven by home cinema systems, rather than just stand-alone players: "I think that the other thing, which we hope is led by what consumers want (and also helps our profitability), is that most of our players are sold within a home audio system.
"If you are explaining the whole set up of a flatscreen HD panel, particularly an LED superslim one, then you should be making sure that there’s a good proportion of those people adding a suitable sound system to that, to get the full experience.
"It’s about added value," he said.
Therefore, by hanging onto the coattails of the Smart device concept or multiple speaker audio systems, Blu-ray is finally getting the boost it needed. Samsung wins, either way.
Do you think that Blu-ray has a long future, or will cloud media streaming take over? Let us know in the comments below...