January 14, 2007
Branding: HD DVD to Grapple With Blu-Ray
Hold the, er, phone, my predictions about the rise of Blu-ray may have been premature. While I was writing my final piece on CES (I enjoyed Om Malik’s “What Happens in CES Stays in Vegas”), I was distracted by news that the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo also was happening while we were distracted by CES and Macworld.
Boing Boing points out that it is probably no coincidence that the biggest consumer electronics show of the year coincides in time and place with the biggest adult video show, not least because there must be a serious crossover between customer bases.
Fleshbot informs us that the porn industry has overwhelmingly chosen HD DVD over Blu-ray for its affordability and ease of use. Aside from the fact that Sony primly refuses to allow porn on Blu-ray, other stories have come out about adult video's sweaty embrace of the less hi-def but more accessible (and cheaper) format that might spell doom for Blu-ray after all.
The porn industry is tired of fighting with Sony and has found that HD DVD is far cheaper, not least because you simply have to upgrade existing DVD to get into business. Will this be the deathblow to the format (think VHS v. Betamax)? Possibly not — Julie Jacobson points out that despite the fact it’s a $4+ bil business on the consumer DVD, one exec estimates "It's not like Betamax and VHS. It's more like DVD-R versus DVD+R, where pretty much any player could play any format."
Possibly, but at least two major studios, Paramount and Warners, have non-exclusive agreements with HD DVD and Universal, Weinsein, HBO and New Line have exclusive support for the format. One blogger says Sony has killed the format as it did with MiniDisc and Betamax because "you just can’t say no to porn if you want to get in the living rooms and bedrooms of homes across America."
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