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Is ultra-HD just too close for comfort? 

The teaser for Naughty America 4K (SFW) opens with a sweeping aerial view of the planet, in breathtaking, crystal-clear detail. The first few bars of “Thus Spake Zarathrustra” surge over an image of a pneumatic blonde in a form-fitting space suit on Mars, American flag in hand.

With its patriotic imagery and epic orchestration, the teaser hints that the viewer is standing on the cusp of sweeping change, that something majestic is on the horizon, that the future of American porn (and perhaps interstellar travel) is replete with possibilities beyond our wildest imagination. What that future looks like, though, I have no idea, because my computer stops loading the clip a few seconds in.

But that’s OK, says Naughty America CEO Andreas Hronopoulos, because my Bush administration-era MacBook is not the appropriate platform for the company’s 4K ultra-HD videos, anyway. A press release from Naughty America 4K also warns that most computers are not equipped to handle the data.

“You really cannot experience it until you get a 4K TV,” Hronopoulos told me. “It’s like drinking a glass of wine with a cold. It just doesn’t work.”

Hronopoulos and his team have a dream: To revolutionize the porn industry by producing ultra-HD 4K videos. It’s a plan he unveiled at the 2014 CES conference last week. Named for its 4,000-pixel horizontal resolution (four times the resolution of regular 1080-pixel HD), 4K is considered by some to be the future of HD technology. Samsung Electronic and LG Electronics are already producing ultra-high-definition TVs, and Netflix and YouTube are announcing their plans to stream corresponding.

Naughty America is one of the few adult entertainment companies to hop on the UHD bandwagon. So far, they’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the production of 4K hardcore videos, to be released later this year.

“There’s nothing more exciting than being closer to that experience without actually having to put on a device or goggles or anything,” Hronopoulos said of 4K. “We’re in the business of helping people find their fantasy, and we believe 4K helps them do that.”

Although Naughty America is not the first adult entertainment company to shoot 4K content—the first is Huccio.com, which rolled out a similar plan last October—it’s probably the biggest name in the porn world to do so. In fact, despite the splash Naughty America’s 4K announcement made at CES, Hronopoulos said most porn impresarios are unlikely to follow suit. The technology in its current incarnation is too cumbersome—a 30-minute video requires 1 terabyte of memory, the Wall Street Journal reports—and it’s expensive to produce.

“I think the rest of the industry sees it as a, ‘Oh, do we need to spend the money? Should we not spend the money?’” Hronopoulos said. “And that’s not how we think of it. We think of it as, it’s our duty to bring our customers closer to the fantasy. 3D didn’t do it, but we think 4K will.”  

Considering the constant threat of loss of revenue posed by piracy, it makes sense why producers would be unwilling to invest in ultra-HD technology, particularly for its subscription-based content. Thanks to the widespread accessibility of free content, it’s become increasingly rare for consumers to pony up for subscription-based porn sites like Naughty America, which will charge an extra $10 on top of its $24.95/month fee for UHD content. Hronopoulos said that due to the size of the 4K file, it’s far more difficult to pirate UHD content.

“The people who are gonna do it will do it, if they want to download and share that much data to their computer,” he said. “But it’s a very, very massive file to share and put on your desktop.”

Judging by some of the commentary on Naughty America’s announcement, it’s also up for debate whether consumers are interested in purchasing an ultra-high-definition TV “for the pleasure of peeping gnarly boob incision scars in gruesome resolution,” as a Gawker writer charmingly put it. Indeed, some of the reactions to the announcement on Twitter were less than enthusiastic, to say the least:

Hronopoulos refutes the notion that viewers might not want to get too up close and personal with their favorite porn stars—or that performers themselves will feel increased pressure to conceal their imperfections while performing in HD.

“I can tell you from seeing the 4K, the women are even more beautiful, better than they look in person,” Hronopoulos said. “You’re just getting closer to reality with the technology. It just brings you closer to them.”

After all, what’s a razor burn here or a magnified blackhead there when you’re looking into the future of ultra-HD porn?

It remains to be seen whether UHD will take the industry by storm, or if Naughty America’s investment will have the same result as, say, drinking wine with a cold. Although 4K TVs and 4K-compatible computers are getting cheaper, they’re still fairly pricey. A new 4K-compatible MacBook Pro sells for a wallet-punching $3,000. It’s unclear whether consumers are willing to shell out that much to stream ultra high-definition content at all, let alone for the privilege of watching a nurse and a doctor do it doggy-style on an operating table with every wrinkle, crevice, and pubic hair rendered in crisp, vibrant detail.

What is clear, however, is that Naughty America and other early 4K adopters are, like the busty blonde cosmonaut in their campaign teaser, charting unknown territory.

“We’re excited about space, we’re excited about looking toward the future,” says Hronopoulos. “That’s why we chose the woman in our campaign: she’s the first lady on Mars.”

H/T Xbiz | Screengrab via Naughty America

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