The inevitable merger of television, computing, and the Internet will take on many forms, some of which we can scarcely imagine. Just as Microsoft (among others) is nudging the market in that direction with its "Web TV" initiative, other plans are on the drawing board – and in stores in time for the Holiday's:
The future arrived this morning (or at least a small glimpse of it). I was having my morning coffee and watching the latest happenings across my favorite television news stations (and C-Span of course - thanks Brian!) when something caught my eye. It was an infomercial from Microsoft about their new product, the "TV Photo Viewer."
This is a small box, not much larger than an external CD drive. It contains a floppy disk drive, as well as some custom circuitry the upshot of which is that it (along with the included software) will optimize digital camera images for display on a standard television set. No computer connection is required: you simply plug the box into a wall outlet, and attach the video output cable to your television or VCR. Pop a diskette containing the photo gallery you wish to view into the device, and use the simple remote control to display the images individually or in a slide show format.
This product was designed for maximum ease of use, and to provide a way for people (even those without a computer) to share their digital images in a format "superior" to prints, and computer displays. After all, it can be a lot nicer to see your cousin's wedding photos on your big-screen TV than to be huddled around a 15" display, and because of the proprietary image processing involved, the pictures will be sharp and clear. And with an introductory retail price of around $160, the barrier to ownership is negligible.
The Porn Connection
It's no secret that digital photography and the amateur porn market developed hand in hand. Many of the folks who were unsatisfied with the size, quality, and permanence of Polaroid images were lured into becoming early adopters of a technology that has since matured to the point where my Olympus E-10 (shooting an 11MB image file!) can produce exceptional "poster sized" printed enlargements. The 8"x10" "dye sub" prints are simply breathtaking. Digital imaging on the "high end" has also now come of age, something that dyed in the wool silver halide fans such as myself were certain would never happen. I mean, how could a "computer chip" create an image as sharp as my Nikon f4s on a diet of Fujichrome Velvia? Well now we can:
And while home darkroom enthusiasts and those with discreet connections at the local color lab always had an alternative to shooting Polaroids, the advent of digital imaging has allowed home grown porn to boom. Add the Internet as a means of disseminating these images for profit, and an industry was born. An industry that has become ever more competitive, and that requires evolution and innovation for its future success. So what's the next step? Television of course!
For Member's Only
Just as many people (myself included) would much rather enjoy full-length adult videos on the big screen, rather than poor quality, postage stamp sized mpegs, so too might many folks enjoy seeing their favorite model up close and personal on their television set. While I cannot imagine a "mega site" offering its photo archives on diskette, the possibility of amateur sites offering select galleries formatted for this device are very intriguing, especially when the total expense involved is $160 and a few diskettes. While I haven't yet looked into the details, becoming a reseller of this device — or an affiliate of an electronic boutique that offers it — raises additional profit potential.
Is porn a practical application of this technology? For horny couples wanting to experiment with naughty imaging, you bet! For many photographers wanting an easy "proofing" tool, absolutely! For amateur porn stars wanting an added distinction to help their site stand out from the crowd, it's an option definitely worth considering!
As a side note, if you visit the Microsoft product site, you will see a television set that displays a slide show of sample images. It shows a series of children at play, the undeniable picture of sweet innocence. Read the captions (optionally generated by the included software) under each image though: "Pool Party!" "Nicky & Leah," and "Girls on the side" — perhaps I've been in the biz too long, but to me the veiled suggestion is obvious: this technology has a future in porn.