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Friday, January 12, 2007

HD-DVD versus Blu-ray: Let the pornographers decide!

The format war for what kind of high-definition DVD player you might be buying may have been won already by HD-DVD. Blu-ray, the high-def disc being pushed by Sony, is shying away from being used by creators of pornographic movies... which is leading them to adopt HD-DVD as their standard.

This is almost beat-for-beat what happened in the early 1980s between VHS and Betamax. Back then the porn industry chose to go with VHS, partly because of Sony's policies (Sony also made the stupid decision to only let their consumer units record about an hour of stuff, thinking that "nobody would want to record anything longer than an hour"). The result was that a lot more VHS players were bought as opposed to those who bought Betamax. A quarter century later and Sony is doing almost the same thing. You wouldn't think that something like porno would encourage that widespread an adoption of technology... but I guess enough people wanted VHS instead of Betamax just because of that.

I'm sort of hoping that HD-DVD will bear out in the long run, but not because of this. It has to do with the name: "HD-DVD" just sounds like the natural progression of DVD, where a lot of people will be told about Blu-ray and wonder "what's that?"