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January 12, 2007

TGIF: Well, that’s settled

Posted by David Hunter at 6:58 PM ET.

You may recall that in the high definition DVD wars Microsoft and Toshiba are the leaders of the HD DVD camp while Sony leads the Blu-ray forces. Now there’s word that the battle is all over – HD DVD versus Blu-ray – The porn industry says HD DVD:

Knowing their audience quite well, the adult entertainment industry holds their annual get together in Las Vegas to coincide with the CES. There is also a very pertinent crossover between the adult and tech industries – porn has a tendency to drive, and be driven, by technology. Which means HD DVD when it comes to high-def.

Quite famously in the war between Betamax and VHS the latter won especially because the adult industry preferred it. If you’ve been around long enough, you probably remember that the very early home video rental stores were primarily responsible for driving Betamax out of the market. And those stores carried almost exclusively pornographic content.

Although the market environments from then do not really compare to today’s home video market, parallels are drawn between the Betamax-VHS battle to the ongoing and escalating fight between Blu-ray and HD DVD. One of the key questions at this year’s CES actually is “Which high-def format will win the current format war – Blu-ray or HD DVD?” Surprisingly, it seems that there is no such question in the minds of the adult industry luminaries.

The rest of the article explains some technical reasons why HD DVD is a better choice for small publishers. There’s also an unverified report today that Sony has forbidden “adult” Blu-ray content which would make the choice even clearer.

The “adult entertainment” industry is not shy about preposterous self promotion, but the “porn makes new technologies succeed” meme has been around for years. I can recall arguments from over a decade ago that “adult entertainment” was going to be the driver for adoption of multimedia hardware features on PCs. That never came to pass (at least in the non-Web form anticipated), but the evidence is better in other technology areas. I doubt the battle is really over, but chalk this one up as one more player (albeit nonstandard) weighing in for HD DVD.

Update: For a less arousing status on the format wars, see this overview.

Update 1/19: More on the Sony/Blu-ray position here.

Update 1/27: Sony says there’s really no Blu-ray adult content prohibition.

Filed under Blu-ray, CES07, Conferences, Coopetition, HD DVD, Hardware, Microsoft, Sony, Toshiba

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