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The Buzz That Wasn't

30 Jul, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Another Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) confab has come and gone. And with the exception that it was held at The Venetian in Las Vegas, its impact and relevance are a matter of conjecture.

While I've never warmed to the suite concept (who wants to peek beyond a partially ajar door?), the absence of the adult entertainment floor (especially in Vegas) was a noticeable omission.

Considering the show was for software retailers and a sizable percentage of independent attendees survive on the rental and sale of adult content, the lack of adult exhibitors and accompanying “talent” killed a likely buzz.

Case in point: The Peach DVD party at Tao Beach was a laborious evening until a $1,000 bikini contest made it interesting.

An EMA official said retailers involved in adult should come to the AVN confab in January. True, but when the VSDA in 2003 held a mini-confab in Atlantic City, N.J., the 50% adult exhibitor mix generated retail attendee interest from Florida to Maine. “Thank God for porn,” was a rallying cry uttered by more than one retailer at the show.

If there was a flashpoint at this year's EMA, it was decidedly not adult themed. But its impact might have been ecstasy to those who paid attention.

Toshiba Corp. offered its HD-A2 HD DVD player for a special show price of $99, including three HD DVD titles. Considering that the retail price of the movies practically paid for the player, this was a great deal.

Indeed, it was Wal-Mart that opened the floodgate to consumer demand for DVD in 2003 when it offered a $39 DVD player the day after Thanksgiving.

One naysayer told me the $99 player underscored the format's desperation and was limited to 720p resolution compared to 1080p. So what, I say.

I've watched HD DVDs on HD-A2 and HD-XA2 players in both 720p and 1080i resolution with no reservation. While I'm not an early adopter or high-def aficionado, I am fiscally challenged. I'll take a deal when I find one.

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