HDTV: Too much information?

Last year I made some observations about the role the pornography industry has played in the establishment of emerging technologies. I won’t go into detail here, so here’s the link to the original post if interested.

I couldn’t help but think back to that little gem when, browsing the NY Times this morning, I found a great article entitled: In Raw World of Sex Movies, High Definition Could Be a View Too Real. The upshot of the article is that, despite leading early adoption of that technology, producers are fast reaching the conclusion that HD-porn really isn’t that great an idea.

You could probably take all you need to know from the article by reading a single quote, taken from one Ms ‘Stormy Daniels‘:

I’m not 100% sure why anyone would want to see their porn in HD

Good point, and one which leads to some interesting questions.

Since Sony still stands by their policy not to mass-produce pornographic movies (the policy that prompted the adult entertainment industry to adopt HD over Blu-ray in the first place), many have speculated that this would lead to HD dominating in the same way that VHS killed Betamax in the early 80’s. Personally I think a better question is whether either format is really that much of an improvement (in terms of viewer enjoyment) on the status quo.

If you look at the big new media technologies of the 20th Century, they’ve all given us something new that we really wanted: 8mm let us take movies home; VHS let us make home movies without having to use a film lab; ditto the Polaroid’s impact on photography, and to a greater extent the digital camera; the Walkman let us listen on the move; and the mobile phone meant that lonely people didn’t have to stay at home all night waiting for the phone to ring (now they can do that anywhere). What previously un-fulfilled need is either new DVD format really meeting?

A good question to ask with any new toy, I suppose: Just because it’s bigger, faster, louder, brighter – does that make it better? Sometimes, but not always. In the meantime I think I’ll stick with my regular old DVD player till my box-set of the Star Wars trilogy turns to dust. Or I do.


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