BDA Not Looking at 8K

We met with Victor Matsuda (Sony) and Marty Gordon (Philips, Hollywood) from the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) on the Philips booth where they started by acknowledging that the position for Blu-ray is now effectively to take advantage a window of opportunity that will, in the not too distant future, close.

There is now an acceptance that streaming will take over the provision of content and optical technology will not be a consumer proposition. However, average bandwidth in many countries for broadband is still just around 3.5Mbps, a long way from the level needed for high quality HDR video in UltraHD. Netflix recommends 25Mbps, but globally, only 12% of people have that level of bandwidth available. Even in the US, only 21% of people have that level (and Germany/UK/France are not even in the top 10).

However, for the moment, UltraHD Blu-Ray is still the highest quality way to see content for UltraHD TVs and both hardware and software are growing with a lot of new content due to be released. The development of sales of UltraHD TVs is positive and the installed base of UltraHD BD players is expected to grow this year, with sales growing by 44% and the base reaching 4.5 million sets by the end of this year. The base is expected to reach 17.5 million by 2022 (excluding XBox One sales).

The UltraHD Blu Ray installed base continues to grow

Although high end player maker, Oppo, dropped out of the market, others have taken up the slack and there are 29 UltraHD players on the market and 11 recorders (BD recorders are very popular in Japan as they have tuners and the tuners are used to drive second and third room sets).

Content sales continue to grow, with North America the key region, followed by Western Europe.There are more and more catalogue releases in the format and even long form episodic TV (Planet Earth/Blue Planet II, Game of Thrones) is being released on UltraHD Blu-ray (e.g. Dr. Who, 2001 a Space Oddessey, the Matrix and Close Encounters). By the end of the year, the BDA expects 430 titles to be on the market. There are 344 titles available in the US and 332 in Germany.

The BDA will continue to aid market development.

Analyst Comment

We asked about any thoughts of moving to 8K, given NHK’s interest, but members of the BDA are not asking for support of that format, Matsuda told us, so it looks as though UltraHD will be the last hurrah for optical disks. (BR)