Why hasn’t Blu-Ray replaced DVD?

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If you collect any physical media at all you know that DVD and Blu-Ray are the two most popular disc-based media formats for movies.

Although Blu-Ray is a superior format it has failed to put DVDs to rest as millions of consumers still buy DVDs every year, some years DVD sales even outpace Blu-Ray.

This is quite interesting and somewhat perplexing, if Blu Ray is superior then why hasn’t it replaced DVD?

Blu-Ray has not replaced DVD because the difference between the two formats was not adequately marketed to consumers.

Most consumers are under the assumption that DVD’s cant be played on a Blu-ray player which is incorrect.

In addition, DVDs are cheaper than Blu Rays and require less expensive compatible technology.

However, Blu-Ray players are extremely affordable and I would argue it makes no sense to buy a new DVD player anymore.

In this blog post, I will further explain why the initial launch of Blu Ray was failed from the start as well as why after all these years DVD is still outselling Blu Ray.

I will also analyze the potential future of both formats.

The difference between DVD and Blu-Ray wasn’t big enough


The transition from VHS to DVD was always going to be on the consumer’s mind when it came time to transition from DVD to Blu-Ray.

Customers unanimously ditched VHS for DVD because the format provided better picture and sound quality, more interactive menus, and bonus features amongst other things.

Blu Ray did not offer anything new for the most part and focused on improving what the DVD had already offered.

This is the biggest reason it has not overtaken DVD, the marketing of the product emphasized Blu Ray being a slightly better version of a DVD but at double the price.

At least that was the perception of most people.

Nostalgia for DVDs and Hesitancy to commit to a new format

Blu-Ray offered higher resolution video and more advanced sound formats but it didn’t beat DVD on everything.

DVDs had more interactive menus and more effort was put into the design and aesthetic of the disc, Blu Ray’s often have extremely basic menus and when first released had pretty mediocre packaging.

There was also an element of people not wanting to commit to a new format, remember DVD had not even been out for 10 years by the time Blu-Ray came out.

The average household did not want to buy a new expensive Blu-Ray player when they just invested in a DVD player (paid link) a couple of years ago.

However, prices for Blu-Ray Players have come down over the years and it really does not make sense to buy a new DVD player now.

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Failed Marketing Strategy

At the outset, Blu-ray knew it wouldn’t be easy to convert DVD enthusiasts over to this new format so they sold combo packs (paid link) that included a Blu-Ray, DVD, and digital code.

These combo packs were not helpful in forcing out DVDs as they gave the customer an option to still buy one with the Blu-Ray.


DVD successfully forced out VHS and never once offered to include that format in a combo back, mostly because VHS tapes could not be played in a DVD player.

DVD could still be played on a Blu-Ray player however but this never reached the collective consumer as the vast majority of people believed you couldn’t play DVDs on a Blu-ray player.

Why do people still buy DVDs all these years later?


It is somewhat understandable that people were hesitant to buy Blu-Ray when it first came out but it is now 2023 and people are still buying DVDs, why?

The simple reason is that DVDs are good enough for most people and they are unwilling to upgrade to the more expensive Blu-Ray.

The bottom line is there is a small minority of people who still care about quality when it comes to physical media, most people would rather watch movies on their favorite streaming service or own their favorite movies for cheap on DVD.

The average person has a small TV and they sit far enough from it so that the increase in picture quality isn’t enough for them to care.

When it comes to sound most people still listen to audio through their TV speakers so having more advanced audio formats like DTS:X and Dolby Atmos makes no difference for them.

Is Blu-ray really that much better than DVD?

Blu-ray has far superior image quality as films are displayed in 1080p High Definition, meanwhile, DVDs are in standard definition 480p.

HD DVD is somewhat similar as Blu Ray but there is nowhere near as many titles for that format as there is with Blu Ray.

Blu Ray also is superior when it comes to audio (especially 4k Blu Ray, I wrote an article discussing this more in depth if you want to check that out), it can decode popular audio formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

If you play your DVD in a Blu-Ray player it will likely get a better picture and audio quality as certain features of the disc can be upscaled to fit the Blu-Ray format.

DVD is superior in that you can basically get any movie in that format.

It has many more titles available than Blu-Ray can offer because it has been around longer.

Blu Ray’s also last longer than DVD’s, it is not an exact science how long the discs last but it’s estimated that Blu Rays can last upwards of 150 years.

Will DVDs ever be obsolete?


DVD’s will become less popular but it’s unlikely to become obsolete as Blu-Ray is likely the last optical disc format and Blu-Ray players can play DVD’s.

There is enough of a physical media audience that future technology is likely to still be compatible for Blu-Ray devices.

However, since 2008 DVD sales have declined over 86%.

DVD’s will continue to be around until Blu-Ray significantly overpasses them or future technology is incompatible with the hardware used for DVDs.


Most people are all about convenience and cheap prices and don’t care as much about having the highest possible quality.

You can get very good quality video and sound on streaming for a monthly fee and don’t have to worry about buying physical discs and storing them in your home.

For those that do choose to buy physical media they often choose DVD over Blu-Ray because it is much cheaper and the average consumer can’t tell the difference in video or audio quality because they don’t have the greatest and latest TV’s or sound equipment.

Until Blu Ray’s discs and players get cheaper DVD is still going to be hefty competition for the format.

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