There has been lots of chatter in the last few months about streaming services acquiring new licenses and content, while others, such as Netflix, have lost content. So you might expect Blu-ray to be on the decline—but you'd be wrong.
The Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) reports a 28.5 percent increase over last year's first-quarter sales. Why is that? Although DEG didn't specifically mention the reason for the increase, one can imagine that wider availability of titles, multiple disc packages, and lower prices might have something to do with it. According to Consumer Reports, the Blu-ray gains were largely offset by declining sales of DVDs.
Streaming a la carte services such as Amazon Instant, iTunes, and Vudu were up 51 percent according to DEG. Streaming services are clearly on the rise, but Blu-ray is still alive and kicking. For any enthusiast, it remains the go-to format for achieving pure video and audio nirvana—or is it?
The infamous Kaleidescape launched its Blu-ray download service last Wednesday, offering Blu-ray quality downloads to Kaleidescape customers. Titles purchased from the company's store can be played back using a Kaleidescape system and accessed on the web or through mobile devices via Ultraviolet.
And now the question you are probably asking yourself—how much? Many will respond that anyone rich enough to own a Kaleidescape system can afford a top-tier ISP plan. Well, that's not always the case. Even consumers who can afford these puppies are looking to save some money. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, for example, weighed in at a whopping 54GB. That's a hefty number. Even for those with the AT&T U-Verse data caps that top out at 250GB won't be downloading a full catalog of movies. Considering it costs an extra $10 for each additional 50GB, it becomes an expensive solution.
The situation only gets worse with 4K movie downloads. Sony has announced a 4K movie download service, but Sony Electronics President and CEO Phil Molyneux recently told the press that those downloads would be 100GB or more per movie. So what do ISPs have to say about this? Not much for now. According to Gigaom.com, ISPs have long insisted that only small percentage of their customers actually use their monthly data cap. This may be true today, but the more we talk about 4K and streaming services, the higher the data caps will need to be, or consumers could be faced with a major problem.