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How Home Entertainment Companies Are Navigating the Streaming Apocalypse

Now that the streaming apocalypse is fully upon us, how are people in the home-entertainment business coping? Mostly by reducing expectations for those once lucrative discs.

With revenue shifting toward established subscription video-on-demand services such as Netflix, Amazon and CBS All Access, and even more competition from Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus, studios are increasingly pinning their hopes on their own streaming offerings, while targeting collectors for purchases on any format of their choosing, be it disc, digital or a combination. Other companies have found new opportunities for niche streaming services and ad sales on apps.

Studios are still pushing discs for sale, piling on bells and whistles in hopes enhanced offerings will appeal to viewers that want to see special-effects extravaganzas in the highest resolution possible, or luxuriate in their favorite movies or shows without having to worry about occasional buffering or spotty availability on streaming services. The holiday shopping period is traditionally a prime time for studios to promote souped-up movies and TV shows for purchase, and this year is no exception: Warner Bros., for example, recently released what it billed as the “ultimate makeover” of “Wizard of Oz” on Ultra HD Blu-ray with 4K resolution. There are plenty of standard Blu-ray collections available for purchase as well.

Kathi Chandler-Payatt, executive director and entertainment industry analyst for the media entertainment practice at market research firm the NPD Group, says there are enough hardcore collectors to keep the newer disc formats viable in the streaming age.

“[Collectors] want to make sure that not only do they get the best experience, they’re guaranteed an experience, and they don’t have to get it on Disney Plus in a format that is potentially not 4K,” she says.

Sales for 4K UHD are

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