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Adobe Grabs a Slice of Video 2.0 Pie

By Katherine Noyes
Apr 9, 2008 2:23 PM PT

Adobe on Wednesday announced that its Adobe Media Player 1.0 is now available as a free download.

Adobe Grabs a Slice of Video 2.0 Pie

The cross-platform software, which is built on the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) platform, is customizable and works both online and off to give viewers new ways to discover and interact with their favorite content. It also offers revenue and brand-building opportunities for content publishers, Adobe said.

CBS, MTV Networks, Universal Music Group, PBS, CondéNet and Scripps Networks are among the publishers that have worked with Adobe to provide a broad range of television programming and entertaining video content to viewers.

"With Adobe Media Player, we're bringing viewers and content owners closer together with an experience that doesn't constrain them by platform or proprietary software application," said John Loiacono, senior vice president of Creative Solutions at Adobe. "It's a merger of TV Guide and DVR (digital video recorder) for Internet video content."

Outside the Browser

First announced about a year ago, Media Player is based on Adobe's Flash architecture. Whereas Flash lets consumers view video online through their Web browser via a plug-in application, Media Player is a distinct application -- separate from the browser -- and can be used to view content offline as well.

The technology can provide high-quality playback of streamed, downloaded or locally stored video in the Adobe Flash format in 1080p, 720p or 480i video display resolutions, with the most advanced audio quality, Adobe said.

Users can also subscribe to television shows and other online video content and then automatically receive new episodes on the player as they become available.

Searchable Content Catalog

To help viewers discover new content, a broad, searchable catalog of shows from leading media companies and networks is available and will continue to be expanded, Adobe said.

Content initially available on Adobe Media Player includes CBS's "CSI: New York," "CSI: Miami," "Big Brother," "Star Trek," "Melrose Place," "Hawaii Five-O," "The Twilight Zone" and "MacGyver;" clips from "The Hills," "MTV News" and "Yo! MTV Raps" from MTV Networks; select shows on HGTV, Food Network, DIY Network and Fine Living Network from Scripps Networks;, and from CondéNet; PBS programming; and music videos from Universal Music Group.

Additional content from MTV Networks' brands including MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, VH1, CMT, Logo, Spike, The N, GameTrailers and Atom Films will be made available over the next several months, Adobe said.

Meanwhile, Adobe also announced on Wednesday Adobe TV, a new network in Adobe Media Player with a series of shows that provide expert instruction and original series programming about Adobe products.

'A Broader Audience'

By reducing the reliance on Internet browsers, Adobe Media Player will not just make viewing content more flexible for consumers, it will also "allow Adobe to reach out to a broader audience of device manufacturers," Kurt Scherf, a vice president and principal analyst with Parks Associates, told TechNewsWorld. "One of the big trends this year is to move the video experience well beyond the PC, and this gives them an important toehold to be able to do that."

The ability to deliver content in 1080p, meanwhile, is "another great selling point," Scherf added.

Given that so many ads today are already created in Flash, Adobe Media Player will also simplify how ads get served, Gerry Kaufhold, a principal analyst with In-Stat, told TechNewsWorld.

'A Leg Up'

"iTunes has ads, but it requires special work to get them there," Kaufhold noted. "With Flash as a platform, the content is being delivered in the same format as the ads, and that gives Adobe a leg up in simplifying the delivery of advertising."

Such an advantage is particularly critical to Adobe as Microsoft pushes its own, competing Silverlight platform, Kaufhold added.

"Advertising is the next big wave, and this clearly puts Adobe in the mix for ad-supported content," he concluded. "It's all good news for Adobe."

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