One of the biggest categories at CES last week was 3-D tech  in TVs and computer monitors. And with news from the Adult Entertainment show, running simultaneously in Las Vegas, here's a fun question: Will porn drive 3-D's success?
3-D really did seem everywhere at CES, and with so much worthless technology "spam" appearing at the show too, it's interesting to note that it's one of the few gizmos that really impressed  gadget blog Gizmodo's editor Brian Lam (a man totally attuned to the whimsies of gadget fads.) We've known for ages that HDTV makers are pushing the design  forwards, that there's an HDMI  standard already in place to support 3-D signals, that more and more movies are using 3-D as an audience attention-grabber, and that 3-D monitors are coming to the computer-gaming scene. Even though the advantages for gaming are immediately obvious--and the graphics rendering technology is easily improved for 3-D imagery--it's hard to see what content might drive 3-D TV into most people's homes.
Unless you look at the porn industry. At the AVN Adult Entertainment expo, which was running concurrently with CES last week, it seems a lot of media attention was directed towards 3-D technology's role in developing porn productions for the future. Specifically the Bad Girls venture, which was demonstrated to attendees--it's a package containing a 60-inch 3-D TV and viewing goggles, and it comes with a $20 a month subscription service for new video content. According to Bad Girls producer Lance Johnson [Ed note: awesome porn name] "2010 and beyond will be all about 3-D."
And you know what? He's probably right. As Johnson [heh-heh] himself noted, "the adult entertainment industry has driven adoption of every significant new entertainment delivery system" for decades--most notably it's charged with causing VHS to win the old VHS-vs.-Betamax video tape format wars in the 1980's. It's been key in the cable TV industry too, and it goes without saying that the Internet revolution owes quite a lot to the pink pixel brigade--nowadays this is even focusing on smartphone porn .
Porn progresses so swiftly mostly because it has to--the battle to produce new content for consumers is never ending, and with so many new providers exploding onto the scene all the time it really is a case of innovate or die--with the exception of a few old staples like Playboy magazine (which nevertheless has embraced the Net.) Unless producers find clever new ways to distinguish themselves in the marketplace, the customer simply moves on--remember, this is an audience whose attention spans waxes and wanes in 15-minute bursts (20 on a good day). Porn also suffered during the recent downturn, which, in turn, becomes another factor driving porn to evolve. Which is where 3-D comes in, of course: 3-D is rapidly arriving, and it's a natural fit for a pornographic movie due to its [ahem] immersive experience powers.
If 3-D pornography becomes the cutting edge of the scene, then you can bet your bottom [uh...] dollar that it'll be a big factor in promoting home adoption of 3-D tech--as TVs or computer monitors. And if you're dubious of its potential to change the world, then know this: Porn is also pushing the boundaries of some aspects of robotic design, with sophisticated sex androids also on show at AVN (check out Roxxxy , a sex android that can even chat about football). And, as they're pointing out over at AllThingsD , it's also possible that we'll see a big money porn-related IPO this year, as social net/porn site network FriendFinder pushes for floatation. With that information on board, despite any moral squeamishness you have on the matter, it seems pornography is about to take an even more public role in pushing technology (and possibly the economy) forwards.