Main Features HD and 3D for Adults
HD and 3D for Adults
Written by Doug Schneider   
Saturday, 09 January 2010 12:41

Kitty-corner to the CES exhibits at the Venetian hotel is the annual Adult Entertainment Expo (AEE) at the Sands Convention Center. The AEE is a large event that invites industry, press, consumers, and fans. It's been a well-known secret for decades that many CES attendees make time to see what's happening at the AEE.

Besides the obvious appeal, one interesting facet of the AEE is the technology on display. The adult industry is an early adopter of new video technology and can, at minimum, act as a barometer for what will take hold in the mainstream. At times, the sheer size of the adult industry can actually influence the outcome of emerging or competing technologies. Many feel that the adult industry swayed the videotape war of the early '80s when they put their films on VHS as opposed to Beta.

Jesse Jane is one of Digital Playground's best-known stars.

As I've done in previous years, I took time to sit down with Digital Playground's tech-savvy founder, Joone, to talk about current technologies at play in the adult industry -- in particular, high-definition downloads and, of course, 3D, which is all the rage these days. For many years, Digital Playground has been at the forefront of technology in the adult industry, being the first to release their films on HD DVD and Blu-ray, and currently having the largest Blu-ray catalog available. In my opinion, Joone's current views on HD and 3D are relevant to the mainstream, just as his views on HD DVD and Blu-ray were in the past.

All of Digital Playground's new films are shot and edited at 4K and then brought down to 1080P for Blu-ray release and 720P for download. The company hopes to have 1080P content available for download by year-end, but, according to Joone, bandwidth limitations as well as the need for massive storage space (on the consumer side) are mainly what's holding that back. But 1080P material is surely coming -- it's just a matter of time.

When asked if they'll stream content above 1080P resolution (since the films are worked on in 4K), Joone says he doesn't see the need. One reason has to do with the fact that there are no consumer products that work above 1080P. The other has to do with him feeling that there is no need. Whereas Joone thinks we'll see 4K projection in theaters becoming commonplace simply because of the screen's large size, consumers won't see much, if any, benefit at home going above 1080P because it already fills the smaller screen effectively. As a result, Joone says, "Blu-ray will be with us a long, long time, and it will be many years until we see something new."

Joone's views on 3D technology are very down to earth and realistic considering all the interest in the technology. Whereas fellow writer Roger Kanno found plenty of hype of 3D technology at the Las Vegas Convention Center (see "3D Everywhere"), Joone feels that its adoption for home use is still years away. He cites three reasons:

1) The first reason affects mostly the adult industry: right now it's very difficult to shoot in 3D. To create the 3D effect, the film must be shot using two cameras. Working with two cameras simultaneously to capture live action in 3D is exceedingly difficult. So until 3D-capable single cameras are available for reasonable prices, there's not going to be much, if any, 3D video content produced.

2) The next reason has to do with the lack of a 3D standard, which is currently being sorted out and puts 3D for the home at a standstill.

3) Then there's practicality and cost. Current 3D television sets that require no glasses for viewing deliver the effect only when viewed from head on. Basically, it restricts viewing to one person. The current 3D technologies that rely on glasses are far more advanced than that of the past, but right now the glasses cost $60 or more. While that might be a reasonable investment for one person, is someone going to spend hundreds of dollars to have glasses on hand to watch movies or sports with their family and friends? Not likely.

While Joone feels that Blu-ray will be around for many years, despite all the hype at CES about 3D -- not to mention Avatar, which is certainly helping to fuel the 3D fire -- it will be a few years until we see widespread acceptance of this technology in the home, which is a viewpoint all of our writers share.

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