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How Much Longer Will There Be Blu-ray Discs?
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (August 4, 2013) - Editor's Note: TV's Answer Man, aka Swanni, takes your questions regarding how to best use the latest products and services in TV technology. If you have a question about TV technology, ask TV's Answer Man by sending an e-mail to swann@tvpredictions.com

Q. I really love the picture on Blu-ray discs, but I wonder how much longer they will keep making them because of streaming. Your thoughts? -- Julie, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Julie, I agree with you that the best picture on the market comes from a Blu-ray high-def disc.  The Blu-ray picture is not compressed the way it is on cable and satellite, meaning the picture is not squeezed to create room for other channels and services.

However, there's no question that streaming -- watching video over the Internet -- is very convenient. You sacrifice some picture quality but you don't have to order the disc by mail or go to a store to rent or buy it. You just hit a button and your movie appears on your screen.

Consequently,
I suspect that the Blu-ray high-def disc has an expiration date, probably in 2015 or 2016. At that point, I think you'll see very few Blu-ray discs released for new movies. Instead, they will be made available nearly exclusively on streaming or Video on Demand.

Now that said, there is some hope for disc fans. Sony and Panasonic recently announced that they will develop a new disc format that will hold 300GB of data, a capacity several times greater than Blu-ray movie discs.


The CE companies say the new disc will be used to store large amounts of data, but if you guessed that they will also be used for new 4K movies, you guessed right. The 4K movie requires a lot of storage capacity.

But will the '4K' disc succeed? It will depend on how consumers react to the new 4K sets. If 4K TV sales disappoint, Sony and Panasonic will likely slow investment in the 300 GB disc.

Another question unanswered at this time: Would the new 300 GB discs be 'backward compatible,' meaning they would work on current Blu-ray players? It remains to be seen, but I am very skeptical. 


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Phillip Swann is president and publisher of TVPredictions.com. He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at
swann@tvpredictions.com or at 703-505-3064.



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