I don't believe Blue-Ray will be dead anytime soon. In fact the Blue-Ray industry is just at it's beginning. We've seen it happen with the DVD and look how popular it is. The only way I see Blue-Ray dying off is they invent a totally new type of medium, which I haven't heard off yet.
No, it won't be dead within 5 years. We will all have to buy the Manned Mission to Mars Blu-ray disc to taste the full experience when NASA lands on MARS.
Also, If you believe in the Mayan calendar, we will all be dead in 2012, so it won't matter.
In all honesty though, the death of Blu-Ray does indeed mean the death of optical media. New technologies are coming out every week that make basic electronics better; the resistor, transistor, and inductor are not the three kings any more. Technology like memristors will make boot instantaneous on computers within a very short time frame.
I'm sure everyone has heard of the atom thick carbon transistor. Just these two new (kind of new, at least outside of theory) elements could lead to technology of paper thin computers, once again not far from now. That being said, Blu-Ray won't be dead by 2012. Electronics as we know it will be dead by 2012.
I still believe optical media will reign in some form, even after downloadable content. See, if for example the PS4 or whatever had no optical drive of any form and downloading content such as games was the only choice for consumers, then the risks of that download getting lost, corrupted, deleted, etc. would be the main reason for having a backup. But unlike a simple MP3 download where you can just copy the file onto a MemStick and transport it anywhere, these downloadable content will be software-protected to protect them from piracy...
Like how on the PS3 you can't copy a game bought on PSN onto your external HDD. You have to be careful not to accidentally wipe your entire HDD or delete the file. This is where back-ups would come in handy. Even though you can ask for another copy of the game by emailing Sony, you can't keep asking them for a new copy every time something happens.
Basically, Blu-Ray and all forms of optical media will still stay alive until a smaller form, in terms of physical size, of optical media comes out.
Blu-Ray will take a while to catch on. Companies are not helping the format by releasing 'DVD players with upscaling technology' that is supposed to give you the same experience as any other HD movie or not researching in ways that they can manufacture Blu-Ray at a cheaper cost, so as to appeal to the price factor many of us have.
I would have to disagree with this. I don't believe optical disks will die unless something new and improved comes out.
I say this because there is a good majority of the people in this world that are like me.
What is like me? Well I prefer to go to the store and buy a psychical copy of what I own rather then order it over the internet. Why is this? Well there are some major flaws with ordering over the internet.
1 Psychical Objects: If you order a psychical Object from a retailer such as amazon.com, There is a small chance (About 10% maybe less) That the object will be broken when you receive it. This has happened to me multiple times. And I don't order stuff over the internet very often anymore because of that fact.
2 Downloads: Downloads have a few flaws in them selves. Although I can order it for cheaper most of the time. The main Issue is space.
Now this wouldn't be a problem. If we had say.. 20 Terabyte hdd's. However this is a long ways away before video game consoles get that advanced.
My next problem with downloads is the time. Downloads are very time consuming and most of the time I have to leave my PS3 on over night to download a full game. So going to the store is a no brainier to me.
So in my opinion I can Either.
A: Grab my key's drive to the store. pay about 10 more USD then I would over the internet. Drive back. Pop it into my disk drive. and go from there.
B: Order something over the internet for the same price I would get it at the store. Wait for it. It arrives to me. Has a 10% chance of being broken. I send it back wait another 6 weeks until I finally call them. They say "We forgot to ship it" And then I wait another 2 weeks until it finally arrives, and then stick it into my disk drive. Or...
C: Order it over the internet Slightly Cheaper and wait for 10 hours when it downloads.
I my self would go for A but if you don't that's your opinion and I respect it.
Check out the Sony Electronics Blog. A recent post talks about why Sony thinks Blu-ray is here to stay, despite contrary reports.
Sony Electronics Blog Moderator
In a few years there will be something better than blu-ray out, the development is going too fast for it to stay long at the moment. DRM will sooner or later be gone, and blu-ray will go with it.