Many may recall that, around the time of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (January), word on the street was that adult film folks were leaning toward the Blu-ray format. Supposedly, the change of heart was brought on by Sony, a driving force in the Blu-ray format, being opposed to associating with adult content. Another possible reason is price: HD DVD is reportedly cheaper to produce. Not to mention that, with the HD DVD format, adult film makers will have the opportunity to make discs in the “twin” format, with HD DVD and standard DVD versions on the same side (albeit likely more expensively than a single-sided Blu-ray Disc, but still less expensive than a separate high-definition disc and a standard-definition disc).
The adult film industry might seem like small potatoes when compared to “regular” movies, but you’d be surprised at the power it could hold in this format war: porn is a billion-dollar industry, and many claim that adult films actually outsell regular movie sales! Meanwhile, back in the 1970s, the porn industry’s decision to utilize the VHS format played a major role in VHS prevailing over Betamax.
The pendulum has been swinging back and forth between Blu-ray and HD DVD over the past year, with Blu-ray always appearing to be one step ahead in the race. In the U.S., Blockbuster announced that, while it would still carry HD DVD in its stores, it would only rent movies in the Blu-ray format, citing customer choice as the driving factor toward this decision. Research firm Parks Associates reported last month that Blu-ray is the front runner in the U.S., when taking both set-top boxes and gaming consoles into consideration. And of course when it comes to studio backing, Blu-ray leads the pack with support from more movie studios, while HD DVD titles are only available from Universal, Paramount, and Warner.
If the adult film industry goes HD DVD, will others follow; and will this spell an eventual win for the HD DVD format? Or will this just put a dent in Blu-ray’s perceived lead, and prolong the war? An even more important question: what advantage is there for the adult film industry to produce films in high-definition at all? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for technological advancement in any sense. But if TV actors are nervous about HD showing their every wrinkle and blemish, imagine how adult film actors must feel!