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Vivid Entertainment set the record straight about the adult entertainment industry and HD format wars

Reports came in last week from Heise (English report) claiming that the adult entertainment industry has chosen HD DVD as the format of choice. The aforementioned report, however, conflicted with a DailyTech interview with Vivid Entertainment Group founder Steven Hirsch where the exec stated his company plans on backing both high-definition formats.

DailyTech decided to clear the smoke surrounding the format war issue by speaking with Steven Hirsch on his plans for both high-definition formats.

DailyTech was originally told that Vivid plans on supporting both formats, with the company’s first Blu-ray and HD DVD release on March 28, 2006 to be Debbie Does Dallas…Again, which conflicted with the original Heise report.

When asked if there would be any content or quality differences between the releases, we were told that “the quality of the two releases should be the same. We believe, however, that Vivid is not only the first to offer a movie in both HD DVD and Blu-ray formats, but also the first to offer in these formats with multiple angle options.”

However, not all of what Heise printed is invalid.  Hirsch did note that Vivid has encountered hurdles while producing adult entertainment for Blu-ray more so than HD DVD.

“Sony is not giving any assistance in the authoring or replication of adult content on Blu-ray,” said Hirsch. “Sony is somehow trying to keep away such material from the format, which I think is a mistake.”

Without Sony’s help, Vivid had to find authoring and replication facilities on its own. Hirsch added that Sony puts restrictions on all Blu-ray manufacturing facilities that produce Disney titles disallowing them from making adult content. By comparison, the manufacturing process for Vivid’s HD DVD adult titles is much easier as it is able to make use of existing facilities.

Adult content on Blu-ray Disc format may appear in greater numbers once there are more production facilities available. “Part of the problem [with Blu-ray] is that it’s a new format,” Hirsch said. “There are very few replicators right now.”

While other adult video companies such as Digital Playground have decided to go ahead with HD DVD first, Hirsch expressed optimism for the Blu-ray format. “It seems to me that Blu-ray has the momentum right now, due to the release of the PlayStation 3 adding a lot more players to the market,” he figured, though Vivid plans to offer all its high-definition films in both formats.

A comment to Gizmodo from Marty Gordon, Vice Chair of the Blu-ray Disc Association, reinforces our findings of adult content on Blu-ray. “There is not a prohibition against adult content,” said Gordon. “The BDA is an open organization that welcomes the participation of all companies interested in using and supporting the format, including those that represent the full spectrum of genres in the content industry.”

Although North America may still be waiting for adult movies on Blu-ray, Japan has been enjoying mature content on the new optical format since late 2006. Blog site WesleyTech found that Japanese adult films studio GLAY’z released one if its first Blu-ray titles last December.

Eyes are on the adult entertainment industry for its choice in format for good reason. The existence of adult films on VHS is credited as one of the main reasons for the format’s victory over Betamax. While the influence of adult content is undeniable, to declare one format the clear winner over the other would at this point be premature.





"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov







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