The latest and greatest in home entertainment technology is just around the corner, and you can thank porn for that. Technology is in a seemingly continuous state of growth, and new technologies consistently fill the living rooms of the American household. Time after time porns influence has moved the needle on entertainment technologies.
Before the invention of Super 8, or 8mm film, home video production technology was expensive and could only be achieved by a professional movie studio. This, combined with the illegality of pornography in many places, made the production of pornography difficult. It also made the purchasing or viewing of this material expensive, even difficult to view.
It was the use of Super 8 film in pornography that standardized the industry-wide use of the 8mm format.
In 1975, Sony released a new consumer-level recording and playback system called “Betamax.” Quickly, Betamax became easier to use and more affordable to own. Even making your own videos as a consumer became easier as compared to the classic 8mm film cameras and projectors previously used.
Shortly after Sony released their consumer-level analog video recording system, JVC struck back with their interpretation of the concept of the Video Home System (VHS). After a long and vicious marketing competition, VHS eventually won out over Betamax. Again, this was mainly due to porn.
Porno did kill Betamax, but not how most people think. Betamax had better video quality, less tape-ware, and the cassettes were smaller, allowing the players to be smaller and more portable. Aside from a one-hour capacity, the attributes of Betamax made it a good fit for the pornography industry. So how did porn kill the Betamax?
In the early 80’s both Sony (Betamovie, 1983) and JVC (VHS-C, 1985) released their version of handheld video recorders, known as camcorders. The home video market flourished, and predictably, so did homemade adult movies. However, when it came time to view your Scorsese-level masterpiece, Betamax came up short.
Betamax drops the ball in the old self-production department. When it came time to review your newest Scorsese-level masterpiece immediately and privately, you couldn’t.
Betamax tapes had required a post-recording processing before playback was possible, however, VHS tapes could be played back directly on a Video Cassette Player/Recorder known as the VCR. Boom! Just like that, Sony lost their format war, and VHS dominated the US market for years until the Digital Video Disk or DVD was born.
In 2008, porn struck again, driving the final stake into a new technology known as HD-DVD or High Definition Digital Video Disk. After a long format war between Toshiba’s HD-DVD and Sony’s Blu-ray disk, Toshiba closed the doors on its HD-DVD division, discontinuing the line indefinitely. Simply put: Blu-ray held more information, which meant more naked people, naked commentary, naked bloopers, and more! When the porn-industry standardized to Blu-ray, HD-DVD just couldn’t keep it up and died off.
Do you like 3DTV’s, streaming video technology like Netflix and virtual reality headsets, like the Samsung VR Gear? You can thank pornography for the consumer adoptions of all of those technologies. One thing is certain; we can look forward to the continued influence of adult entertainment on consumer technology.