Adobe Partners With Media Giants To Control Internet TV

Apr 20th, 2009 | By | Category: Internet TV, Streaming Video, Video

At the 2009 National Association of Broadcasters Show, Adobe Systems announced today a version of Flash optimized for HD video and rich applications on Internet-connected televisions, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players and home media players.

Launch partners include Atlantic Records, Broadcom, Comcast, Disney Interactive Media Group, Intel, Netflix, and The New York Times Company. The Adobe Flash Platform for the Digital Home is available immediately to OEMs. The first devices with support for the optimized Flash technology are expected to ship in the second half of 2009.

The Adobe Flash Platform for the Digital Home

Here’s what Adobe has to say about their Flash-based media platform:

The Adobe Flash Platform for the Digital Home now enables the delivery of HD Web videos to digital home devices via the Flash Video (FLV) file format. Consumers will be able to enjoy rich, interactive viewing experiences and amazing new ways to engage with HD content on televisions. Flash technology-based applications will allow users to quickly switch between television programming and Web content outside the Web browser. With the optimized implementation of Flash technology, content providers are able to extend their reach to millions of connected digital home devices, and cable operators and device manufacturers are able to develop new services and powerful user interfaces that deliver immersive experiences. A preview of Adobe Flash technology for digital home devices is being shown in the Adobe booth (SL3320, South Hall) and during Adobe’s NAB Super Session today.

“Adobe Flash Platform for the Digital Home will dramatically change the way we view content on televisions,” said David Wadhwani, general manager and vice president, Platform Business Unit at Adobe. “Consumers are looking to access their favorite Flash technology-based videos, applications, services and other rich Web content across screens. We are looking forward to working with partners to create these new experiences and deliver content consistently across devices whether consumers view it on their desktop, mobile phone or television.”

The big question is whether Adobe will be able to do what Apple has failed to do – turn Internet TV devices into something more than a “hobby”.

Apple’s Apple TV has been on the market several years and has failed to take off, despite the fact that it’s a very well thought out device. Apple’s approach to Internet TV has been closed, though, which has limited the content that’s available.

There are a lot of reasons to think that Adobe’s platform could avoid Apple TV’s fate. It’s supported by media companies and will be available from a variety of vendors. Ultimate, though, the platfom’s success will come down to user experience.

What do you think? Is Adobe Flash the future of television?

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No Responses to “Adobe Partners With Media Giants To Control Internet TV”

  1. Certainly, Flash can bring a great interactive experience for video content. However, in the area of internet information applications for TV, the reliance upon Flash for internet widgets may or may not be such a good thing.

    Personally, I don’t like the direction that the industry is going in to provide a limited selection of internet widgets that are based upon proprietary technologies like Flash or Yahoo widgets. There seems to be a potential trend towards a “walled garden” for TV internet content and not a democratic offering of content. This approach favors select content providers rather than the broad community of bloggers, podcasters and web developers who make up the vast majority of the people who “make” the internet and who also could provide new and innovative content for internet TV.

    Consumer electronics OEMs want to control the user experience because they think it affects their brand. So, they only want “qualified” content in their internet TV offering. Main stream media companies want exclusive relationships with the OEM portal to keep out competition. However, this is not in sync with the democratic nature we experience through the PC web and to a lesser extent smart phones.

    I think it would better in the long run if the device manufacturers provided a full web browser capability and encouraged content providers to create web sites that are easy to use through a TV. Forget the walled garden.

  2. Jackson says:

    I think this will definitely work if Adobe partners with established set-top companies. Flash is a very dominant medium and bringing Flash to televisions will be a great success. Companies like VUDU which are developing internet applications for their boxes will be able to make good use of this. It will help not only the set-top box makers but also Adobe.

    And hey, it seems as if consumers do in fact want this on their televisions.

  3. Rob Blatt says:

    The cynical side of me says this: “Yaay! Now Adobe can create security holes in my TV!”

    The non cynical side of me thinks that widgets are probably left best to advanced remote controls. I care about the image I see on my television enough to not clutter it with Idiocracy. Let’s also hope that televisions and set top boxes that are given the technology aren’t underpowered. All we need is flash running slow and crashing on my TV or DVR as I record something and can’t reboot the system.

  4. James says:

    I’m skeptical about this making much of an impact.

    This just looks like they’re doing what Apple TV did, except from a different angle.

    We need platforms that you and I can deliver content to, but in a way standardized just enough to make it easy for users.

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  7. David says:

    I actually read about this on a deal site: http://beatthat.com/blog/adobe-brings-flash-direct-to-tvs
    I’m quite wary this will amount to anything. I believe consumers will only look for “everything or nothing” – access to the full Web, including interactivity, and at a monitor-like resolution, or don’t even bother.

  8. […] NAB, Adobe announced the Adobe Flash Platform for the Digital Home, which will bring Flash to […]