Forget Target. The DVD format wars will be settled by porn

The American adult film industry prefers HD DVD. But in Japan, they're moving to Blu-ray.

By Farhad Manjoo

Published July 30, 2007 4:37PM (EDT)

The war over next-gen video disc formats -- Blu-ray vs. HD DVD -- often feels like attrition combat: Both sides frequently announce major victories, but to the non-combatants, the whole silly affair seems never to change. The past couple weeks have brought victories for Blu-ray -- Target announced it will sell a Blu-ray player, though it will stock both kinds of movies -- and for HD DVD (Microsoft cut the price of its XBox HD DVD player). But as in most video battles, if there is to be a single winner in high-def discs, it's likely to be determined by the likes of -- to recall my David Foster Wallace -- folks with names like Dick Filth.

And we've got news on this front too. The HD DVD format is the leading choice for the American porn industry, but in Japan, the adult film business now seems to be settling on Blu-ray. The dish comes from PC World, which has dug into the intriguing dealings between huge electronic companies and porn producers.

American porn has chosen HD DVD after receiving "plenty of help from backers of the format, including Microsoft Corp. and Toshiba Corp." But the magazine says that backers of Blu-ray have long resisted such an approach, because one of them, Disney, "maintains a policy against having its own movies replicated by any company working with adult movie titles."

This set back most mass production of Blu-ray porn, because Sony prohibited its large pressing facilities from doing adult titles. But now some wily Japanese pornsters have devised a way around this plan, and Sony is helping. What they've done is contracted with disc-pressing firms in Taiwan to handle the Blu-ray adult film titles; the Taiwanese company purchased a mass-pressing machine and tech support from Sony to do the work.

There are already 10 Japanese Blu-ray porn titles available -- items like "Sex Vacation in Guam" and "Eroist." (Guam? Really? Who knew?) Compare these with HD DVD porn flicks like Wicked Pictures' "Camp Cuddly Pines: Powertool Massacre."

So now: Does that help clear up which one you should choose?

Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

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