Will the DVD Format Disappear?

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Q Some of my friends argue that spending extra money on Blu-ray Discs is unreasonable since DVDs offer almost equal picture quality for less money. Worldwide, DVDs sell much better than Blu-rays, which many people still consider to be a format for videophiles. Do you think it’s possible that DVDs will ever disappear from the market? —Tomek Ciecwierz, Warsaw, Poland

A First, the next time your friends claim that DVD offers near-equal picture quality to Blu-ray, confront them with the math. DVD resolution is 720 x 480, which adds up to 345,600 pixels. Blu-ray resolution is 1920 x 1080, which adds up to just over 2 million pixels—a sixfold increase. Not only does Blu-ray provide high-definition video, it has high-resolution sound: up to eight channels of lossless 96 kHz/24bit audio. Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks on DVD, in contrast, use lossy compression. To discerning eyes and ears, the differences between the two formats are notable: video and audio quality with Blu-ray is a dramatic leap over DVD.

As for your question about DVDs disappearing, it appears that that it’s already starting to happen. According to the Digital Entertainment Group, an industry group that tracks DVD and Blu-ray sales, physical media sales in 2013 dropped 8% over 2012. As of this September, sales were down 8.2% over 2013, and the year’s not even up. Meanwhile, online movie downloads from sources like iTunes, Amazon Video on Demand, etc., shot up 47% in 2013 over 2012, a number that will undoubtedly surge even higher in 2014.

Considering the trends at work here, it’s probably just a matter of time before all physical media—Blu-ray, DVDs, and CDs—are replaced by streaming services. At least there’s one physical format that will survive the steaming media apocalypse: vinyl records.

JohnSaxon's picture

I recently began upgrading my collection from blu ray to 3d blu ray. I sell the blu ray and dvd from the combo packs since I already have those discs. I'll say this much, the DVD ALWAYS sells for more than the blu ray disc in my auctions. Kind of crazy.

HardBoiled's picture

Is the 4k blu ray still happening?

Tiberius's picture

What a shame as Blu Ray looks better than any streaming. Also if physical media goes away you're totally dependent on a service keeping a title in their catalog. If it goes away tough luck! Having something you can hold in your hands means you own it and don't have to pay for it again and again to watch it. What a shame. I don't see this as advancement but just giving the control of your viewing habits back to the companies that we fought so hard to get back in the 80's with the VCR ( see Jack Valenti testifies before congress about the VCR http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/27/how-the-content-industry-almost-killed-... ).

MatthewWeflen's picture

Hear, hear. Streaming is a nice supplement, but when you know you love a film/show and are going to watch it many times over the years, nothing beats owning an unlimited license for personal viewing, and having it be in the best possible (current) A/V quality. I can't imagine not being able to watch Star Trek TNG or Lord of the Rings because one company is in a dispute with another company.