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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.

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Same mistake again?
By Desslok on 1/16/2007 8:55:06 PM , Rating: 2
Didn't Sony do the same thing with BetaMax(ie not give the adult industry premission to use their format)? And that was one of the reasons why BetaMax never took off in the home market?

RE: Same mistake again?
By Desslok on 1/16/2007 8:56:19 PM , Rating: 2
ooops, need to read ALL the article.

RE: Same mistake again?
By Justin Case on 1/16/2007 11:48:58 PM , Rating: 2
No, that's a common misconception. Nor did Sony forbid other companies from manufacturing Betamax equipment (another common misconception).

The real reason why Betamax lost the "war" was that it took a long time for tapes over 60 minutes to become available (and, after that, the limit was 90 for a long time, too). Since most films are over 90 minutes long, that meant that they had to be split across two tapes, which made Betamax less desirable for video rental.

By the time 120-minute Betamax tapes became available, everyone had a VHS at home and saw little reason to switch, especially since there was a bigger selection of VHS titles.

Ironically, porn was precisely the only "genre" where Betamax editions were still common. Why? Because it had excellent pause and slow motion. Something that VHS players didn't get right until nearly a decade later.

The "Betamax died because of porn" is just one of many urban myths about the format wars. It died because it simply could not do what 99% clients (and 100% of merchants) wanted: store a complete feature film in a single tape.

RE: Same mistake again?
By xphile on 1/17/2007 2:41:43 AM , Rating: 3
There are questions of whether Beta's demise had anything to do with the adult industry or not, and the Beta/VHS situation does in many ways get related correctly to the current HD format conundrum, not least because Sony is again involved. I agree with you it was more technical in my opinion with tape lengths not helping them at all.

But putting all that aside, the fact is that the Adult industry is undoubtedly a major component to be factored into the current format question. For a long time last year I read many reports that most Adult video distributors intended to be supporters of BluRay, most likely in an exclusive manner. This was widely considered to be VERY important since few people realise the sheer dollar value the industry generates.

There are various figures bandied about and due to the nature of the business it is never possible to know for sure, as many players in the market prefer to hide their activities (for obvious reasons). But one at least semi reliable source (VSDA - Video Software Dealers Association) has figures (estimated in a study by AVN) for the 2005 year that do tie in with a medium ground of estimates, stating the industry generated 12.6 billion dollars in that year (2005). See here (G rated content) :

This includes all revenue streams, but from some other info Ive read video content for sale or hire makes up to 75% of the industry, which as a man does tend to ring true as likely. Say they are wrong by 20% and it's "only" 10 billion (and lets face it being wrong is almost certain and that would be because they cant get all the REAL sales figures so it's really probably too low), then gee adult video is worth a pultry 7.5 billion per annum at least. Nice work if you can get it (in more ways than one).

So the format the industry chooses is VERY important. And the support of the format owners is INCREDIBLY important. Fair call Sony for not wanting little Aimee seeing "Snow White Does the Seven Dwarves" by accident in closing access at Disney's replicator plants, but it does sound they are being a little less supportive even than that, and can they afford it?

This announcement by one of the reasonable sized industry distributors that they plan simultaneous releases in both formats already goes totally against all statements made last year, and yes it's actually a pretty big deal. A BluRay exclusive Adult Industry standard was predicted by many to cement the Bluray win. If Sony dont embrace it FULLY, is it in fact only going to be the cement around their ankles that actually DOES make them live the "Deja Vu, Im Viewing in Beta All Over Again"?

The VSDA has an interesting pdf doc on their take on the formats here :

RE: Same mistake again?
By Justin Case on 1/17/2007 4:02:05 PM , Rating: 2
Personally, I think both formats are pretty much "doomed". Even the average Joe / Jane is used to Tivo and YouTube, these days. Given a choice between going out and buying a physical disc or simply logging into an online store and getting their movie straight away (or even with a few minutes' delay), I'm betting they'll pick the latter.

Not only that, but current on-line DRM is more efficient and less obtrusive than current "physical media" DRM (of course, it's perfectly possible to screw up on-line DRM, too).

Look at Steam for example. Games bought through it are cheaper than at the stores, you can download them to as many systems as you want, you can play from any of those systems, and you can even back them up to CD or DVD. New features like "guest passes" and trials let you share your games with other people for a limited time, or play full games for free for a few days, so you can decide if you want to buy them or not (with films, the system could give you the option to watch the first 20 minutes, for example - if the film was any good, that would make a lot more people buy it).

It should be trivial to adapt Steam to video distribution, and I'm sure a lot of companies (ex., Netflix) are already working on similar services. In fact, the service could nearly pay for itself, if it used the initial "buffering" time to display ads.

So I don't think HD-DVD or Blu-Ray will ever be as successful as DVD; fast net access has changed that. I'm still interested in new optical disc formats basically for data storage, but I doubt I'll ever buy a film on Blu-Ray or HD-DVD.

RE: Same mistake again?
By masher2 on 1/17/2007 4:50:17 PM , Rating: 2
> "Even the average Joe / Jane is used to Tivo and YouTube, these days..."

Almost 50% of the country still doesn't have a broadband connection. Nearly 20% have no Internet access at all.

> "or simply logging into an online store and getting their movie straight away (or even with a few minutes' delay)..."

Downloading a 25GB HD movie takes a wee bit longer than "a few minutes". A few days for most people.

RE: Same mistake again?
By aos007 on 1/17/2007 7:07:45 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention that there is a download limit in place at every provider, here in Canada at least. Between 60-100G is the most you can get even with the most expensive plans. Above that you can only get business plans, and that also has limits though you can get more if you pay more (and anything that will give you over 100G a month will cost hundreds of dollars, if not thousands). And this is in one of the leading countries regarding internet penetration. And by the way, providers ARE actively going after people who go over the limit, so it's not for show only.

As long as these limits exist, even something like Microsoft's new HD store (which is not available in Canada) are just a pipe dream.

RE: Same mistake again?
By Justin Case on 1/17/2007 10:55:33 PM , Rating: 2
Most ISPs don't count internal traffic towards that limit. In other words, the ISP itself could get into the business of movie "distribution" (or real-time streaming). That would be an added source of revenue for them, and would give them a competitive edge over the other ISPs, attracting more customers.

And lots of ISPs will give you unlimited downloads at certain times of the day (ex., from midnight to 8 a.m.), either as part of the basic package or for a small fee (ex., $5/month).

The real issue is that their advertised speeds are generally only valid inside their own networks. In other words, you can get 8 Mb/s or even 20 Mb/s to the ISP's servers, but not to anywhere else, because they just don't have a fat enough pipe going out. Another reason why the ISPs themselves are in a great position to get into online movie distribution.

They can sell their service as "24 Mb/s (internal network, including movie and TV show downloads) & 4 Mb/s (rest of the net)". As long as they're honest about that, I don't have any problem with the "two-tiered speed model".

RE: Same mistake again?
By Justin Case on 1/17/2007 10:48:20 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, and some people have no running water, too. But those aren't the people likely to be jumping onto the Blu-Ray train(wreck) any time soon, are they? :) So what if 20% of people don't have net access? Do you think more than 80% of people have Blu-Ray players?

It doesn't really matter who "currently" has broadband. People "currently" don't have HD-DVD or Blu-Ray players, either. But if they have phone or cable TV, they can get broadband net access (and if they don't even have a phone, let's face it, they probably wouldn't buy any Blu-Ray or HD-DVD movies, either).

The fact that a lot of people still don't have broadband only makes this a more interesting business for service providers. If they offer people competitive prices on movies (ex., make the cost of broadband net access + 4 movies per month roughtly equivalent to the cost of 4 Blu-Ray discs), then more people will sign up, and they get a steady revenue stream. They can even limit your bandwidth for regular net access (ex., you get 8 or 12 Mb/s to their online movie store, and 4 Mb/s to the rest of the net - as long as they tell you that up front, it's perfectly fair).

The movie doesn't need to be 25 GB. If you assume the decoder is a PC-class device, you can use more complex encoding (with better quality vs. size) than if you have to comply to the limitations of a (cheaper, simpler) set-top decoder. We're talking less than 12 Mb/s for high-quality HD, and less than 4 Mb/s for immediate streaming.

Bitrate does not scale linearly with resolution, for the same quality. In other words, although HD has 6x the pixels of SD, it only needs about 2-3x the bandwidth to "look as good" (per pixel). And since there's a lot more detail, it'll still look better than SD even at lower "quality per pixel".

Most people can't even tell the difference between native HD and upconversions. Or between true HD LCDs (1920x1080) and the 1366x768 panels that most HD TV sets use. You can feed them MPEG-4 at 2 Mb/s and they'll be impressed.

Again, look at Steam and Valve's business model (or iTunes, for that matter). That's the future (and there's little reason - other than the lack of vision of "old school" publishers - why it can't be the present).

After you've downloaded a game from Steam, you can back it up to a DVD (or whatever) and play it on another system with no broadband connection (it does need a net connection to authorize itself, but this doesn't need to be done every time). This opens up yet another possible business model: retailers that download movies (using an account in your name) and burn a copy that you can play at home. Of course, here you'd end up paying nearly as much as for a retail-bought disc, but it still eliminates the distribution costs, which means the retailer could increase its profits while selling it at a lower price.

Steam-style DRM is simple and non-obtrusive, and can be used to let people buy or rent movies (a "rented" movie is simply one that stops being authorized after a few days - Steam already does this with game "trials").

BTW, here:

This service is pretty basic, but with a bit of artificial intelligence, and some concepts borrowed from Tivo, etc., it's possible to put together a very desirable and very profitable business model.

Let's say you "rent" a movie and decide to play it immediately. You get the 4 Mb/s version. It buffers for 2 minutes, during which you get a couple of previously dowloaded ads, and then starts playing. If the net connection chokes, you get more ads. For every ad you have to watch, the service provider gives you a 1-cent discount, for example. After it finishes downloading, the distribution system's AI kicks in and uses your spare bandwidth over the next hours (or days) to download the 12 Mb/s version. If you decide to watch it again during your "rental period" (ex., 5 days), you now get the higher-quality version. Same thing if you decide to buy it; it's already there. If you don't, then it'll eventually get overwritten in your cache.

The AI can also download some movies or shows in advance, if it thinks you are likely to want to watch them (ex., if you watched or bought "The Godfather", it'll use spare bandwidth to download parts 2 and 3). They'll stay on your PC's (or set-top box's) cache, encrypted, waiting for you to buy or rent them. When you do, your account gets the key necessary to decrypt them, and you have instant access to them.

It's not hard to do. The issues aren't technical; they're "political" and economic. The publishers, distributors and retailers have no reason to change the current distribution model as long as they can continue to milk their customers.

But all it takes is a couple of new players (or old players with some vision) to make the plates shift. And there are already half a dozen companies working on it (each with its own pros and cons).

Even if a full-quality movie takes "a couple of days" to download, and if (nearly) instant streaming versions aren't available, wouldn't you trade that for the lower cost? Can't you decide what movies you want to buy a couple of days in advance? Games on Steam sometimes cost less than 50% of what they do in retail, and their authors still get a bigger share of what you pay.

I can tell you that, since Steam started working, I've bought exactly one "boxed" game, and that was only because it wasn't available on Steam.

RE: Same mistake again?
By afkrotch on 1/18/2007 12:06:46 AM , Rating: 2
Why are you comparing Steam to online movie distribution? Let me ask you something. How many games do you download on Steam every month? I'm thinking a hell of a lot less than ppl rent a dvd from a store every month.

Also, I haven't even seen a single game on Steam that can top the size of an HD-DVD or Blu-ray data amount. Shoot, HD-DVDs are 19+ gigs a piece.

Also no one is going to want to pay for HD and get some crap upconverted crap.

Also with a Steam like model, I couldn't take a movie home to my folks place to watch, as they live out in the country and have no internet access. And yes, they do end up with some of the latest gagdets, as I end up buying it for them.

Also with the release of the PS3 and Xbox360's HD drive, many ppl now have the capability to play HD content at home.

I'd personally rather buy a copy that I can hold in my hand, cause having to download huge games, movies, etc is not my cup of tea. That's why I have a 3TB server, so that I don't have to constantly redownload items or even have to get on the net to watch what I want.

Steam is great, but nothing pisses me off more, than when the stupid app won't work in offline mode. With a nice disc, I don't need something like Steam to be up and running. I don't need a net connection. I don't even need a computer. Once HD-DVD/Blu-ray take off, prices will start dropping. Most families will have HDTVs and HD players. Not everyone will have a high speed connection and no one is even bothering to plan out anything to be able to provide high speed connection to 100% of the US ppl.

RE: Same mistake again?
By Justin Case on 1/18/2007 2:04:51 PM , Rating: 2
> Why are you comparing Steam to online movie distribution?

Because it's established, it has a functional DRM model that lets you download your games / videos to as many systems as you want, back them up to any kind of media, its prices are significantly lower than retail, you get regular free trials of several products, and you can offer free trials to your friends.

> Also no one is going to want to pay for
> HD and get some crap upconverted crap.

Guess what, a lot of people are getting just that through "HD" channels. And most of them don't even notice. Most "HD" TV sets don't even have full HD resolution. And again, most people don't even notice.

Anyway, I never suggested selling "upconverted crap"; I simply suggested offering a slightly lower-quality (streamable) video-on-demand version (still full HD resolution), that you can watch immediately if you don't want to wait for the full-quality version to finish downloading.

> Also with a Steam like model, I couldn't
> take a movie home to my folks place to watch,
> as they live out in the country and have no
> internet access.

They have a phone line? Then they have net access. You can backup your movies to a DVD (or a hard disk, or carry them on your laptop, etc.). All you need is a (low-speed) internet connection to get authorized. In fact, you don't even need that. Steam lets you access your media and games while you're offline, as long as you've authorized recently, and I'm sure they could provide USB-key-based authorization, too.

> I'd personally rather buy a copy that I can
> hold in my hand, cause having to download
> huge games, movies, etc is not my cup of tea.
> That's why I have a 3TB server, so that I
> don't have to constantly redownload items

And why can't those 3TBs be used to store data that came from a DSL connection instead of ripped off physical discs? Sorry but that makes no sense. If anything, having the movies downloaded straight to your server would save you some work.

Anyway, it seems you didn't read my message above: with this distribution model, you can still get all your media on a disc, and you still save money compared to the current model.

> Steam is great, but nothing pisses me off more,
> than when the stupid app won't work in
> offline mode.

Well, and nothing pisses me off more than paying a 70% premium for a physical disc (compared to what things cost through Steam), and nothing pisses me off more than discs with stupid anti-copy systems that I can't even backup, and nothing pisses me off more than discs that I have to keep in the drive all the time, otherwise the program won't run.

You'll never get 100% DRM-free media; the industry will never accept it, and frankly they have a point. Steam offers by far the "fairest", least obtrusive implementation of DRM I've seen so far.

I suppose you also buy all your music on copy-protected "CDs", and think that's the way everyone else should do it...?

RE: Same mistake again?
By masher2 on 1/18/2007 10:19:32 AM , Rating: 2
> "So what if 20% of people don't have net access? Do you think more than 80% of people have Blu-Ray players?"

A person with a (non-recording) Blu-Ray player can't use it to watch a downloaded video. If someone does download a HD video, they need nothing else than a HDTV or a computer monitor to watch it.

I know plenty of people with a HDTV and no broadband connection. So the point is least for the next 5-6 years. Beyond that, who knows?

> "Bitrate does not scale linearly with resolution, for the same quality. In other words, although HD has 6x the pixels of SD, it only needs about 2-3x the bandwidth to "look as good" (per pixel)."

That's because HD films are encoded with a more advanced codec. Compare codec to codec, and you'll see a relationship much closer to linear. A SD film encoded in Divx can be smaller than 700MB. You won't get a 1080p film in 1.4GB though...not without a huge loss in image quality.

RE: Same mistake again?
By Justin Case on 1/18/2007 2:42:44 PM , Rating: 2
> A person with a (non-recording) Blu-Ray
> player can't use it to watch a downloaded video.

So instead of a Blu-Ray player they get a set-top box that will download videos from their cable or phone company's server. Or, if they already have a PC, they don't even need the set top box, just a cable / DSL modem, and a "movie store" account. And if they already have the modem, they don't even need to pay for that.

> If someone does download a HD video, they need
> nothing else than a HDTV or a computer monitor
> to watch it.


> That's because HD films are encoded with a more
> advanced codec. Compare codec to codec, and you'll
> see a relationship much closer to linear.

No, I won't. I've been working in video compression for about 10 years, I do have some clues. ;)

Areas with little or no detail compress to a given size almost independently of resolution. In other words, a 16x16 pixel block with uniform color or a smooth gradient will take up the same space (after compression) as a 64x64 pixel block (despite a 16x difference in pixel count). Temporal compression also does not scale linearly with resolution. In fact, it hardly scales at all. It's only areas that a) move and b) have a lot of detail that will scale more or less linearly. There are surprisingly few of these, when you consider a full length movie.

And remember that nearly all modern codecs are "flexible". You can trade compression not only for quality, but also for decoder cycles. A film aimed at a more powerful decoder can use more complex motion search, more complex intra coding, and longer GOPs to achieve higher compression with no loss of visual quality.

> A SD film encoded in Divx can be smaller than 700MB.

And will look like crap, especially if you pause it. Typically, MPEG-4 will give you the same quality as MPEG-2 at 1/2 to 1/3rd the bitrate (assuming a typical broadcast "profile"). In other words, to get "DVD quality" (which isn't great, but it's pretty good), your DivX file will need to be about 1/3rd the size of a DVD. That's around 2 GB for a normal just-under-2-hour movie, not 700 MB.

> You won't get a 1080p film in 1.4GB though...

Did I ever suggest that? I suggested using around 12 Mb/s for the "high quality" version. That's 1.5 MB/s, or 90 MB/min., or 5.4 GB/hour. Assuming the film is 100 minutes long, that's 9 GB per movie.

For the "streaming" version, I suggested 4 Mb/s (that's 3 GB per movie). It'll still look significantly better than a (SD) DVD, although not as good as the 12 Gb/s version, of course.

With a 16 Mb/s connection (that many aDSL ISPs offer these days), you could even download that "full" version in real time. Of course, don't expect to get that speed to any servers outside your ISP's network.

Which is why I think the ISPs themselves (and this means cable TV and phone operators) are in a great position to steal some clients from the traditional media distributors; all they need to do is offer a "movie package", that doesn't require people to have any knowledge of the internet, and slightly lower prices than retail (with Steam, you can get some games for half of what they cost in retail).

Several companies are already working on this kind of solution, but expect the "usual suspects" (MPAA, studios that also sell HD disc players, big distributors, etc.) to lobby heavily against it, and start spreading their FUD.

RE: Same mistake again?
By masher2 on 1/18/2007 10:24:08 PM , Rating: 2
> "No, I won't. I've been working in video compression for about 10 years, I do have some clues. ;)"

And I've been working in information theory (which encompasses data compression) since I left graduate school. But that's neither here nor there. Using the same codec, you will not compress a HD video stream containing six times the pixel count as a SD stream, to only twice the size, not while retaining the same image quality. In some rare specific cases you might...say, against animated material, which tends to have large, uniformly-colored blocks which scale with resolution...or say a HD stream previously upconverted from SD, so that large amounts of redundant information were added due to interpolation.

But in general, against video originally mastered in HD? Not possible. As proof, look at the actual films mastered onto BD and HD-DVD today. The smallest ones using the MPEG-2 are 21-24 GB, yet have lower image quality (pixel for pixel) than SD DVDs which, using that codec, require well under 8.5GB. Those using VC-1 can be under 10 GB...but a SD video compressed in that codec is usually less than a third the size.

> "For the "streaming" version, I suggested 4 Mb/s...It'll still look significantly better than a (SD) DVD"

I think here is where the disconnect is. When I say "the same image quality", I mean on a per-pixel basis. In other words, take a 720x480 block out of that 1080p image, and compare it to a full frame from a 480p source. Quite obviously if you have six times the pixels to work with, and you merely want a "better picture" than SD, you can crank up the compression much further. In fact, by the Shannon Theorem, any increase in bit rate can theoretically yield a more accurate reconstruction of the picture, regardless of resolution. So from that basis, you could claim that you could compress a 30,000 x 20,000 ultra-high res video stream down to only twice that of a 480p source, and still get a better picture. True....but any single SD-sized block of that stream is going to look horrible. The per-pixel image quality is far lower.

RE: Same mistake again?
By Justin Case on 1/19/2007 10:37:00 PM , Rating: 2
Better quality "per pixel" is only an objective measure of quality if the pixels stay the same size. In other words, if your TV screen get 2.6 times wider, and the camera is now showing you a 2.6 times wider "scene".

Since this is not necessarily the case when "upgrading" to HD (a lot of people already have huge SD screens, and others might even get a physically smaller HD set), and the framing stays the same, it's hardly a meanigful way to measure "image quality". At best, you're measuring the codec's performance (but there are at least another 20 variables you need to take into account there, so good luck).

You measure image quality by comparing images of the same physical size, and seeing how much detail you can see in each. That's why HD stands for "high definition" not "bigger pictures".

And, like I said, an HD picture compressed in MPEG-4 at 12 Mb/s will have more detail than an SD picture compressed in MPEG-2 at 6-8 Mb/s (unless whoever wrote the encoder or picked the encoding parameters is completely clueless - granted, some people are).

Why would I use MPEG-2 in this day and age? And how is SD video compressed in VC-1 relevant? DVDs can't use it, so you have no existing commercial format to compare. And who said anything about "using the same codec"? Why do you keep "contradicting" points I didn't make?

Read what I wrote. What I said was that you can get better image quality from HD footage compressed to MPEG-4 at 12 Gb/s than you can out of (SD) DVDs (which use MPEG-2, typically with an average bitrate around 6 Mb/s, and are limited to MP@ML MPEG-2). You doubt that? Try it. I have. Dozens of times.

Will it look like uncompressed HD? No, it won't, especially if you pause it. But DVD-compliant MPEG-2 isn't exactly a "professional-quality" format, either. It looks like crap compared to Beta Digital or even Beta SP (not to mention uncompressed SD, which is used for mastering and effects in the best studios).

P.S. - Saying that you've "been working in information theory" is pretty vague. Advanced video compression, with motion search, variable quantization, DCT'd deltas, etc., is a pretty specialized field, not really comparable to "normal" (lossless) data compression algorithms. In fact, the source video data isn't so much "compressed" as it is "reinterpreted". Chances are that not a single pixel after decompression will match the color of the pixel at the same coordinates in the original footage. Did you specifically study lossy temporal video compression algorithms? And have you actually made tests comparing the same footage in HD and SD, using multiple codecs, with different decoder profiles, different motion search parameters, different GOP structures and different bitrates?

RE: Same mistake again?
By Nocturnal on 1/18/2007 7:28:10 PM , Rating: 2
YouTube? I want to see my movies on my television. YouTube you need to squint to see it and not only that but the quality of the video sucks. I think people will pay a premium to watch something that isn't all grainy and something bigger than a 10"x10" box.

RE: Same mistake again?
By Justin Case on 1/19/2007 9:54:44 PM , Rating: 2
And did anyone suggest using the same codec or bitrate that YouTube uses...?

RE: Same mistake again?
By Anonymous Freak on 1/17/2007 9:35:38 PM , Rating: 2
Same thing that really killed LaserDisc. If they could have fit an entire movie on one SIDE of a LaserDisc, it would have been more successful.

RE: Same mistake again?
By Justin Case on 1/17/2007 10:59:57 PM , Rating: 2
Yup, people are too lazy to even flip a disc, these days.

DVDs solved that by having two sides on each side. ;)

BTW, I'm constantly amazed by the terrible placement of the layer break point on most DVDs (usually right in the middle of a scene!). All decent mastering systems let you position the layer break exactly; it's trivial to make it land at the end of a fade-out, for example, so that it's unnoticeable.

RE: Same mistake again?
By timmiser on 1/18/2007 1:40:14 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, Laser Discs were not killed by that at all. They exisisted almost as long as the VHS tapes and were only finally killed by the release of the DVD format.

Laser discs throughout the 1980's were the only way to watch a movie with a digital picture and digital sound and in the original widescreen format. The format catered to those of us who valued those features during a time when the general public didn't realize there movies were being cut off on the edges.

RE: Same mistake again?
By Justin Case on 1/18/2007 2:47:17 PM , Rating: 2
Well, you could get letterboxed VHS tapes, too (of some movies, at least). Laserdisc wasn't exactly "killed" because it was never really alive. Too expensive, too few titles, too few clients (I was one of them, BTW).

Oh, and it wasn't "digital" in the sense that DVDs are digital. It was simply a PWM encoding of the analog video waveform.

RE: Same mistake again?
By timmiser on 1/19/2007 12:37:40 AM , Rating: 2
I never had a problem finding movies on LD at all. VHS only started releasing letterboxed movies towards the end their life in the mid 1990's. As far as I recall, there were no VHS letterboxed movies in the 1980's.

RE: Same mistake again?
By Justin Case on 1/19/2007 10:40:17 PM , Rating: 2
The only VHS tape I can remember actually buying in the 80s was "2001" and it's letterboxed. On TV it was generally cropped, but the tape is letterboxed (maybe Kubrick made a fuss?).

Restricting X-Rated Material
By EglsFly on 1/16/2007 10:28:47 PM , Rating: 3
Sony puts restrictions on all Blu-ray manufacturing facilities that produce Disney titles disallowing them from making adult content.

I used to work at a disc manufacturing plant and this type of situation is true. Whether its a Sony restriction, Disney restriction, or plant specific restriction, it doesn't matter. It should be enforced and its a good thing.

Reason is, when discs are produced they are put onto spindles with a tag identifying the lot. But these discs at this point do not have any artwork on them. If a spindle was misplaced onto a wrong cart, and sent to a screen or offset printer line, you can end up with a Debbie Does Dallas disc with a Toy Story print on it. Obviously this would be a disastrous situation. It has happened, and this is why these kind of restrictions have been put in place.

By KnightBreed on 1/16/2007 10:53:27 PM , Rating: 2
A reasonable explanation, I guess. I could also see Disney trying to protect its image being "family friendly" and all.

I don't understand how this is Sony's restriction. (1) Blu-ray is not a Sony-only format and (2) content is controlled by the publishers.

RE: Restricting X-Rated Material
By Justin Case on 1/16/2007 11:50:27 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, imagine how disappointed the guy who gets the Toy Story disc is going to be...!

RE: Restricting X-Rated Material
By timmiser on 1/18/2007 1:33:48 PM , Rating: 2
Forget that, think about how dissapointed the guy who gets Debbie does Dallas in HD-DVD and winds up with Toy Story would be!

By Justin Case on 1/18/2007 2:49:20 PM , Rating: 2
Er... that's exactly what I wrote. :P

RE: Restricting X-Rated Material
By jtyson on 1/17/2007 11:09:07 AM , Rating: 2
Didn't something like this happen at an EA disc manufacturing plant...?

By Justin Case on 1/17/2007 4:16:07 PM , Rating: 2
That story has no credibility. If a 14 year old boy found porn in his game's disc, he'd never tell his parents; he'd tell all his friends, and that game would sell out in less than a week. :P

By Hoser McMoose on 1/17/2007 5:28:48 PM , Rating: 2
If a spindle was misplaced onto a wrong cart, and sent to a screen or offset printer line, you can end up with a Debbie Does Dallas disc with a Toy Story print on it.

Did anyone else crack up laughing thinking of the potential funny lines that could come out of this situation?

"Daddy, why does the new Buzz Lightyear in this version of Toy Story have a mustache and icky long hair? He looks like that scary old man down the street that keeps offering me candy!"

Or better yet:

"Mommy, you didn't tell me you were in the new Toy Story!"

Hmm.. actually I'm probably the only one that thought this... never mind!

Adult entertainment
By kdog03 on 1/16/2007 8:29:26 PM , Rating: 1
Ahh, this kind of high definition visual detail will make for a jolly fun time. Gimmie a break.

RE: Adult entertainment
By Spoelie on 1/16/2007 8:54:06 PM , Rating: 2
I really don't know if it's such a good idea to see everything that goes on in a porn flick ultracrisp and in super high res.

Uhm, not that I watch any, really, carry on.

RE: Adult entertainment
By Dactyl on 1/16/2007 9:44:01 PM , Rating: 1
When they released hi-def versions of Gilligan's Island, it was possible to see Maryann's mustache.

What sort of details will show up if they re-release old pornos in hi-def?

Hopefully they can use CGI as a form of digital TP...

RE: Adult entertainment
By Justin Case on 1/16/2007 11:54:51 PM , Rating: 2
Considering most old pornos were shot on (Standard Definition) video or crappy Super-8 / 16 mm film, I doubt you'll be able to see much more detail than in the SD version.

The question is: even for brand (spanking) new porn, do we really want the extra detail? Or will it just end up meaning extra work for the boys in post-production? I can see a new specialised position being created: "ass pimple tracker".

RE: Adult entertainment
By qdemn7 on 1/17/2007 12:34:33 AM , Rating: 2
Considering most old pornos were shot on (Standard Definition) video or crappy Super-8 / 16 mm film, I doubt you'll be able to see much more detail than in the SD version.
That is simply incorrect. Many of the "loops" i.e. short films before the mid-60s WERE shoot on 8mm or 16mm film. But many of the "full length" features from the "Golden Age of Porn" (late 60s to late 70s) were shot on 35mm film.

RE: Adult entertainment
By Justin Case on 1/17/2007 4:13:03 PM , Rating: 2
So you are saying that more than 50% of old porn movies were shot on 35 mm film? If not, I'm not sure how you can say that it's "simply incorrect" to say that most old pornos were shot on SD video or 8/16 mm.

Sure, the porn "super-productions" were shot on 35 mm. I'm sure there were even a couple of 70 mm ones. But that's not the majority of existing material. That's why I didn't say "all old pornos" or "nearly all"; I said "most".

RE: Adult entertainment
By timmiser on 1/18/2007 1:45:38 PM , Rating: 2
I think the article is referring to new videos shot in hi-def, not re-releasing old videos. (ie-Debbie does Dallas...AGAIN)

RE: Adult entertainment
By GhandiInstinct on 1/16/2007 11:51:39 PM , Rating: 4
You'll see the juices that you may have never seen before ;)

Use of commas
By lewisc on 1/17/2007 3:45:36 PM , Rating: 2
I know that when viewers on this site complain about grammar, it typically results in a number of responses commenting on how pedantic they are. Even so, I really feel the need to ask about the use of commas in the title of this news article.

I simply did not understand at first glance what 'Adult content confirmed to appear on blu-ray, HD DVD' meant! Without reading the article, I had no idea what the title was supposed to encapsulate. Why the comma after blu-ray? Is it supposed to mean "over" in this case? Sometimes it is used on this site in titles to mean and, sometimes it is used correctly, and other times just in a confusing manner.

My grammar is far from perfect, I will be the first to admit this, but usually people can still understand what I mean without my point being completely distored! I just don't like the way the titles of news articles on this otherwise enjoyable and interesting site are sometimes punctuated.

RE: Use of commas
By CrazyBernie on 1/17/2007 4:58:19 PM , Rating: 1
When stringing multiple items together in a sentence a comma is often used to seperate them; i.e. "I'm going to buy milk, cookies, chips, and crack." Usually you don't string just 2 items together like that, but I've seen it used at the end of a sentence in that manner many a time (not just on websites either, but in magazines, newspapers, etc.).

RE: Use of commas
By lewisc on 1/18/2007 5:34:33 PM , Rating: 2
I like the example of usual, everyday items you might buy!

RE: Use of commas
By Spivonious on 1/18/2007 12:50:45 PM , Rating: 2
It is common for headlines to omit words to save space.

'Adult content confirmed to appear on blu-ray and HD DVD'

RE: Use of commas
By lewisc on 1/18/2007 5:33:21 PM , Rating: 2
I understand the argument, but I just think that for the sake of two characters saved, it would be much clearer just to say 'and'. I could understand the reasoning also if the two characters made the headline run onto a new line, but it did not. I also think this point is less valid in online media, where physical space is at less of a premium.

I suppose I don't like seeing the comma used in such a way, possibly may be a trait of the American press, you do not see it in British print media. Each to their own!

RE: Use of commas
By Justin Case on 1/18/2007 6:59:43 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. As it is, I get the feeling that the sentence was cut short (it doesn't even end with a full stop):

Adult Content Confirmed to Appear on Blu-ray, HD DVD [and something else that got censored...?]

RE: Use of commas
By mindless1 on 1/22/2007 5:42:35 AM , Rating: 2
Then create your own font that puts blank spaces were all punctuation marks were and stop whining.

Multiple Angles?!
By Hydrofirex on 1/17/2007 2:39:08 AM , Rating: 2
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 .

Wait, what exactly are "multiple angle options?"



(No seriously!)

RE: Multiple Angles?!
By Axbattler on 1/17/2007 3:04:32 AM , Rating: 2
DVD provide provide the option for multiple angle (not just for pr0n).
But it's not a feature I've commonly seen used. I suspect it's because it requires filming/coding (CG) for multiple angle, and that adds to cost.

RE: Multiple Angles?!
By Justin Case on 1/17/2007 11:03:22 PM , Rating: 2
Not only that, but lots of early players (and even some recent ones) will choke on multi-angle DVDs.

It also imposes some limits on encoding and authoring (ex., you can't use automated scene detection / I-picture insertion, because all angles must be GOP-consistent).

But the main issue really is compatibility.

RE: Multiple Angles?!
By Spivonious on 1/18/2007 12:48:32 PM , Rating: 2
I've never had a problem with multi-angle discs in any of the players I've had, including a first-gen Sony player and a $30 no-namer. All it means is multiple video for the same audio. A Metallica DVD I used to have had the option to stay on each member of the band throughout the entire concert. Not too useful, but interesting nonetheless.

RE: Multiple Angles?!
By Justin Case on 1/18/2007 6:57:28 PM , Rating: 2
All players are supposed to work, but many don't. That's just the way it is. Just as many players will choke on 9 Mb/s video although the standard says the video can go up to 9.8 Mb/s (if there's no audio). Still, you won't see any professionally done DVDs where the bitrate goes above 8 Mb/s, for compatibility reasons.

The multi-angle DVD specification is a bit peculiar, namely in the way it affects the bitrate limit, and how that influences the speed at which the dics must spin, and the speed at which the decoder must work. It does not work the same way as multiple audio tracks (which are all counted towards the bitrate limit).

I've got an idea!
By Merry on 1/16/2007 10:10:05 PM , Rating: 2
Its HiDef, interactive,3D and it, or more importantly she is sitting not so far away....

..Shame they are significantly more expensive and lack an on/off switch.

back to the drawing board </humour>

And just to add some seriousness into the post, I don't think its as relevant which format the 'industry' chooses as the video (in the form of DVDs and such) as form of distributing such 'content' is, i would presume becoming less common, what with the internet an all. It kind of makes it difficult to draw comparisons between the vhs/betamax 'war' as the internet didn't really exist then.

RE: I've got an idea!
By tmarat on 1/16/2007 10:48:48 PM , Rating: 2
I think Sony is making a grave mistake! Porn, whether we want it or not, is one of the deciding factors. If there will be no porn on blu ray, it will contribute a lot to it becoming the looser.

RE: I've got an idea!
By Aquila76 on 1/16/2007 11:14:28 PM , Rating: 3
tmarat said:
If there will be no porn on blu ray, it will contribute a lot to it becoming the looser.

Ah, how spelling errors make a sentence that much more appropriate to the story...

RE: I've got an idea!
By SunAngel on 1/17/07, Rating: 0
By slacker57 on 1/17/2007 1:02:34 PM , Rating: 2
Or am I not reading it right?

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

Should it be 2007? Otherwise, wouldn't the whole article just be a moot point? Sorry for being pedantic.

And a sidenote -- how many times does Debbie need to do Dallas? Gosh, lady, move on to some new frontiers!

RE: Typo?
By Spivonious on 1/18/2007 12:52:26 PM , Rating: 2
I guess she still hasn't made her cheerleading dream come true?

RE: Typo?
By timmiser on 1/18/2007 1:50:24 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget the fact that Debbie is now 54 years old so the HD detail will be "interesting" for sure.

So much for DRM
By PrinceGaz on 1/17/2007 6:28:16 AM , Rating: 2
Although not directly related to this news post, the first HD-DVD movie has been ripped and posted on a Torrent site (the following is just a link to the news story on another site, and does not include a link to the torrent)

It weighs in at 19.6GB but that shouldn't be a problem for most broadband users in countries where ISPs offer decent speeds. I'm tempted to get it to see how much better it looks than the DVD, and to see how well my X2 4400+ @ 2.5GHz plays it back as I have a 6800GT graphics-card with the broken video processor (NV40 core) that doesn't support PureVideo acceleration of anything useful. Apparently it's VC-1 encoded and plays back on suitable versions of PowerDVD and WinDVD.

RE: So much for DRM
By hstewarth on 1/17/2007 10:45:51 AM , Rating: 2
It maybe not a DRM issue. There are Blu-Ray burners out there, so anybody could make a home brew Blu-Ray movie which would not have any DRM.

There is no way that Blu-Ray assoication can't prevent this if they desired to restrict content. No more then restricting someone to burn a DVD movie and putting a label on it.

By CaptainPicard on 1/17/2007 12:40:00 PM , Rating: 3
Finally a reason to buy a HD-DVD/Blue Ray!

Not a big deal anymore.
By Teletran1 on 1/17/2007 11:41:58 AM , Rating: 2
With the internet none of this really matters anymore. Back in the VHS and Betamax days people had to buy tapes to get their porn fix. Now its just a click away. It won't make or break any format. I doubt it really made a difference back then either.

I thought this was humerous
By RogueSpear on 1/17/2007 1:45:21 PM , Rating: 2
Hirsch added that Sony puts restrictions on all Blu-ray manufacturing facilities that produce Disney titles disallowing them from making adult content.

I had some visions when I read this lol. What do they think? That porn might somehow infect a Disney flick? And it brings up the question - are Disney productions the only child oriented movies that are protected from cohabitating with porn?

OK, if you don't have broadband....
By jjbwbc on 1/18/2007 3:22:57 AM , Rating: 2
If you had to choose between broadband and Blueray, then Blueray is doomed.

Excessive greed is the only reason that the new formats will fail to become dominant. If piracy is so bad for the industry (it's not, it's why Microsoft is as huge as it is)then why don't they sell the new formats at 20% less than DVD's, or better yet at half the price of DVD's.

If 99.9% of people that use Blueray disks are paying customers, why not sell these disks at $12.00? This would kill DVDs (which are so easy to copy) and start tightening up against piracy.

Most of us just like to be able to copy things, we pay all kinds of money for this feature and then don't even use it. Most movies are so mediocre that I don't care to own a copy anyhow...

I think there are actually 3 HD-formats: Xbox360 Video, HD-DVD, and Bluray. I believe that X360 will be extremely successful, obviously b/c they are less greedy $6.00 for a 720P movie... now we're talking...

Another note, the main reason that the PS3 has failed as badly as it has is that its "base" is still enjoying the PS2 too much. Same goes for DVD's... we've had them for years but they look better on an HDTV than on regular TV's so we're enjoying them all over again. I just bought some DVD's for $4.00 each at blockbuster... and well, they look great.

People that had money to burn bought Laserdisks, but DVD's were so obviously better and practical that regular folks are spending all kinds of money on DVD libraries. They won't fall for this new stuff at $28.00 a pop all over again.

By encryptkeeper on 1/18/2007 2:12:32 PM , Rating: 2
Its a day later, and now it looks like Sony is saying no to porn on blu ray, threatening to revoke printing licenses if they fail to comply. Goodbye format wars, hello HD-DVD!

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook

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