Porn Industry Warms Up to Blu-ray

Leading video producer Digital Playground to ship first XXX title in Blu-ray format, after year-long success with HD DVD.

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Just when you thought it was safe to buy an HD DVD player, the adult video industry has capitulated to Blu-ray. Digital Playground, a technology trend-setter in the porn business, will ship its first Blu-ray title in a couple of weeks.

The move augurs well for the high-def DVD format, which seemed all but dead in the influential porn world just one year ago.

That’s when Digital Playground dropped Blu-ray in favor of HD DVD (or, as some say, Blu-ray dropped Digital Playground and its unwholesome brethren in the XXX world). Having first embraced Blu-ray for its superior capacity and alleged content security, Digital Playground decided at the last hour to go with HD DVD instead and released its first four titles early this year.

Digital Playground founder Joone says the decision hinged on cost. “The advantage of HD DVD over Blu-ray is the cost factor, both in manufacturing and the players,” he says, adding that the rest of the porn industry is “basically behind HD DVD because of manufacturing costs. It costs a lot more to put out a title on Blu-ray.”

HD DVD has done well for Digital Playground, and the company claims to have an 80-percent share of the market for HD porn. Joone says that about one-third of the publisher’s video shipments are now HD.

So why go with Blu-ray? Joone explains, “A lot of people were emailing that bought a PlayStation and they were basically saying, ‘When are you guys going to release Blu-ray?’ They really have no preference in format yet because it’s so now. When it comes down to image quality, there is no difference between the two.”

The first Blu-ray title from Digital Playground is Pirates, which has garnered awards from all of the major industry outlets. Adult Video News says that Pirates, in its standard and HD DVD formats, holds the record for highest sales and rentals of XXX video.

So splendid is “the most expensive adult effort yet produced,” according to Digital Playground, that the Motion Picture Association of America wants to share the glory. The organization granted the movie an R rating.

With all of its capacity, the Blu-ray disc will hold the entire Pirates film and all of the extras in full 1080p. In the HD DVD version, the outtakes and other goodies are rendered in standard def.

There is good news on the HD DVD front, however. Digital Playground claims to be the first shop to release a dual-layer adult video. The company’s Island Fever 4 originally shipped in a multidisc set. “To fit it all in there, you needed three discs,” Joone laments. “We’re the first company to do dual layer, so it all fits on one disc. It makes for a better user experience because now they don’t have to change the disc in the middle of the video.”

I hate that.

For now, Joone says, “We’re looking at releasing to both formats until there is a clear-cut winner.”

About the Author

Julie Jacobson
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson

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