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Blu-ray Disc Player Use Remains Strong

5 Oct, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

In an age of digital distribution, the Blu-ray Disc player continues to bridge the growing divide between packaged and digital media.

In addition to playing 1080p resolution Blu-ray titles and standard-definition DVD, most BD players possess Internet connectivity enabling users to stream video from variety of sources, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video and Hulu Plus.

There are more than 28 million Web-enabled BD players in use, which is up from 27.9 million in 2014, according to new data from eMarketer. BD players trail connected televisions (35.3 million) and video game consoles (51.7 million) — but lead Google Chromecast (22.8 million), Roku (22.6 million) and Apple TV (17.7 million).

Indeed, despite growth projections for Apple TV (15.7%), Roku (11.5%), Smart TVs (7.4%) and game consoles (6.5%), BD player user growth is slated to increase 0.7% this year.

Alas, BD player penetration is projected to decline, reflecting declining packaged media sales. Among connected TV users, Blu-ray player penetration registers at 20%, which is down from 24.5% a year ago. Device penetration is projected to drop to 13.3% by 2019 — still ahead of Apple TV.

Not surprisingly, eMarketer said 181 million people in the United States will watch video via an app or website. Principal driver continues to be YouTube, which tracks more than 170 million viewers each month, or 94.3% of over-the-top video service users.

The usual SVOD suspects follow with Netflix projected to up its domestic subscriber base 20% this year, accounting for more than 71% of the OTT video market by 2019. Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime Instant Video are projected to reach 82.2 million and 88.6 million OTT viewers, respectively, in the next four years.

Meanwhile, packaged media aficionados remain committed to disc. More than 20% domestic video consumers only watch discs, according to a recent Nielsen post.

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