The CEO of Roku Anthony Wood predicts that Blu-ray is not only on the way out, but that in four year's time, hardly anyone will using the format.
The Roku player is currently one of the hottest video streaming set-top boxes around, with custom tailored support for popular services such as Netflix and Hulu, but more importantly, for other less well known services that aren't readily available on mainstream devices. These players also emphasis ease of use, and as a result, video lover are happily buying into the Roku hype. So much so, that the company recorded $100 million in sales last year.
And Wood, speaking at the TV of Tomorrow show in San Francisco, says that the accessibility of streaming, making a library of hundreds and thousands of titles available at the click of a button, will be Blu-ray's undoing.
"Will people use Blu-ray players in four years? I don’t think so," opined Wood.
But what about Blu-ray players that also act as streamers, which is pretty much every one of them these days? Would this functionality keep Blu-ray alive, and at the same time, compete with Roku? What about game consoles, the Xbox 360 and PS3 in particular, and their improving support for streaming services - would they also pose a threat to Roku?
Wood is not worried. He doesn't believe that Blu-ray players offer the same kind of performance and ease of use as his Roku players, and that "New customers don’t go out and buy game consoles to stream video". Interestingly, Wood also hinted at the possibility of adding Blu-ray playback to Roku devices in the near future, or at the very least, didn't rule it out as a possibility.
For the time being, Blu-ray seems to still have a few advantages over streaming, particular in the arena of high quality, high definition videos. A typical Blu-ray stream is anywhere upwards of 30 Mbps, a speed that's faster than the average Internet connection speeds of most developed countries. And even if homes do have super fast broadband, the bandwidth costs, could be as much as 25 GB per movie, may just keep Blu-ray relevant in the streaming era. At least for now.