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Next-gen DVD standard gets X-rated support

An adult film maker said it will throw its support behind Sony's high definition Blu-ray format, adding spice to the multibillion-dollar standards war.
/ Source: Reuters

U.S. adult film maker Digital Playground Thursday said it will throw its support behind Sony Corp.'s high definition Blu-ray format, adding spice to the multibillion-dollar standards war raging in Hollywood.

"We feel that of the two formats, it's the one that's more future-proofed," said Digital Playground's president and founder, who identifies himself as "Joone."

Sony's Blu-ray competes with the HD DVD format championed by Toshiba Corp. and appears to have amassed more allies in the next-generation DVD format war — including Apple Computer Inc., Panasonic and the majority of movie studios.

Digital Playground is the company behind the movie "Pirates," which has won honors from the porn industry that calls Southern California's San Fernando Valley home and is estimated to have had 2005 sales of $12.6 billion, according to Adult Video News.

But while Digital Playground, known as an innovator for bringing porn to personal computers, is endorsing Blu-ray, it has not yet found a company prepared to mass-produce its films in the new high-definition format.

Joone said companies who replicate DVDs are hesitant about embracing the porn industry and are committed in putting mainstream Hollywood's movies onto the new discs.

Nevertheless, a spokesman for Blu-ray said the endorsement underscored the format's wide appeal.

"It shows that Blu-ray is appealing to film genres of many types," said Andy Parsons, a spokesman for Blu-ray and a senior vice president at Pioneer Electronics, a unit of Pioneer Corp.

Ted Schadler, an analyst at Forrester Research, also called Digital Playground's decision a "vote of confidence in the format."

Failure of the Blu-ray and HD DVD camps to reach a unified standard has set the stage for a war akin to the VHS vs. Betamax battle of the 1980s. Each side hopes to reignite the sagging $24 billion home video market with new players and discs that offer greater capacity and interactive features.

But analysts said the adult film vote does not appear to have as much impact now as it had in past format matches.

Aditya Kishore, director of the media practice at the Yankee Group, said adult content providers in the past played a big role in boosting new video technology — particularly the adoption of video tape and online content distribution.

"The adult industry tends to be open to new technology standards," said Kishore, but noted that mainstream entertainment this time will likely play a bigger role in determining the winner of the standards war.