Let's say you visit a Web site which features hundreds of original video clips of fresh, tight and tasty models that you just can't wait to get into. If you're merely a porn cruiser and aren't building a collection of reliable hot stuff to keep on your computer for easy access, it probably doesn't matter to you what format the video clips are in or how they are served. But to people for whom porn is, for lack of a better term, a way of life, format and serving method does matter, and it can be a determining factor in whether a porn hound joins a site or moves on to the next. There are definite pluses and minuses of various video formats, and no doubt you've experienced some of those ups and downs with both elation and frustration.

Personally, I prefer not to stay online for long periods of time because I don't like exposing my computer to every Tom, Dick and Hacker scurrying around the 'Net looking for PCs to mangle. When I'm considering joining a site to check out their boys, the first important factor is what format the videos are in and how they are served. If the videos are only served as streaming non-downloadable files, I'm not interested for several reasons. Streaming files sometimes take forever to load which results in frequent picture freezing due to buffering and extreme traffic. Also, I like to edit my porn by taking out the boring shit and keeping only the good moments. If I can't download the file, convert it to a video format I prefer and then re-cut it, then I'm not interested. I realize this is not an issue for most surfers, but from a filmmaker's perspective and someone who creates porn for others, it's very important. But even if I didn't want to re-cut the material to make it better, I would still only join a site if I can download the clips to watch at my leisure while offline. I don't like limitations to how the viewer receives the material.

When it comes to video format, obviously there are all sorts to choose from. In my experience, Real Media is complete shit. It's slow when streaming and the picture quality of most Real Media clips is 200% terrible. In addition, converting Real Media clips to another format is not as smooth as converting other formats, and there are virtually no Real Media editors. Despite its popularity and widespread usage, I feel similar about Quick Time video. I hate the Quick Time player which is cumbersome and tedious, particularly when using the Quick Time Pro functions. Ultimately, I have found that the best picture and sound quality comes from the Windows Media format and MPEG format. These are easy to manipulate in most video conversion programs as well as for adding bells and whistles. Both formats are universal and most people have a good MPEG or WMV player built into their PCs (remember the days of those massively huge AVI files that could so easily fill up an entire partition of your hard drive?). The key to settling format disputes is for Web sites to offer a variety of formats, and luckily, many of them do. Many sites offer all of their video clips in both Windows Media and MPEG format, and some include Real Media and Quick Time. This allows users to select the format that works best for them and their PC. Providing options is important from a customer service perspective. What I don't like are sites that offer only one format. Doing so is lazy and not thinking enough of the users.

Finally, the kind of video format that really turns my face red are locked Windows Media files in which you have to enter access codes every fucking time you play them. These are highly restricted clips that cannot be edited, converted, copied or even stared at for very long. I certainly understand some porn producers' desire to protect their content and prevent tampering, but good God, don't make it a pain in the ass to watch the stuff! Besides, porn is not a Da Vinci painting. If we buy it, we should be able to convert it and mess with it any way we want for maximum benefit. Porn is just porn and really doesn't require security measures and locking the shit down as if it's a Hollywood blockbuster film that cost $200 million to make. I mean, come on! It's just porn! When I visited a highly famous gay site for the first time (unnamed to protect the guilty), I was pretty impressed by the preview pics and the exceptional picture and sound quality of the clips. But once I found out that the clips were so heavily restricted that opening one was like trying to open the Lost Ark, I got really irritated and never returned.

If there's a point amongst this prattling, it's probably that Webmasters should offer their video clips in a variety of formats to accommodate all types of users, and that users should be able to download them to their hard drive for keeps. Too much security and too much online-only stuff results in frustration and eventual abandonment. To those Webmasters who do think of us and our naughty needs, we thank you. Now, could you please lower your prices, too?



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