Everyone now knows about High Definition (HD) content. And this past year the format war re-ignited with HDDVD and Blu-Ray. I’m not going to go into it all but suffice it to say I like HDDVD better than Blu-Ray. Not because it is a higher quality image. People’s eyeballs can’t see the difference if both are properly encoded. Like those “3-D” posters of the dolphins when you take your eyes out of focus; if they say they can see it — they’re lying. But because it makes more sense. It’s cheaper to convert manufacturing. Cost of entry for consumers is lower (if you call $500 for a set-top player lower). And the cases are that cool reddish color. But since the movie houses are split the consumers will have to purchase one and guess who will win.
Until now. What’s changed you ask? The answer my friend is Porn. I don’t mean the amateur videos you see posted on all the dirty YouTube clones. I’m talking about the $14 billion a year “Adult Entertainment” industry. Depending on which tale you subscribe too you get a different reason but the gist of it is that originally they chose Blu-Ray but then received rebuffing from the Blu-Ray distributors about not wanting to license the discs to that type of material. Another version is simply that HDDVD is cheaper to produce. So porn companies are taking their money to HDDVD. Blu-Ray should have played nicer. An almost identical situation occurred back with Betamax and VHS. Betamax was the better quality but the Porn industry went with VHS and so now everyone who bought a Betamax has to keep it in the garage next to their laser discs. The other thing for Sony (the creators of Blu-Ray) to keep in mind… where porn goes, consumers follow. Porn has always been the pioneers of new technology. Does anyone think the Internet would have evolved so quickly without everyone downloading dirty pictures? What force other than maybe Xbox Live has driven so many consumers to adopt broadband connections? It ain’t the Food Network.
Regardless what puritans may think, people like looking at other people naked. That coupled with the fact that people vote with their money (and if it’s cheaper they can vote more often) are indicators that HDDVD has a very good chance of winning. So, whoever can get below the $250 price point first (HDDVD is kinda there with the Xbox 360 addon) and supply movies showing the naughty bits will win.
It’s simple sexonomics.