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Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Studio MX 2004 to become more "Flashy"

Macromedia will soon announce their Flash Video Kit for users of Studio MX 2004 with Flash Professional, which will make it much simpler to add Flash video to a Web site.

Macromedia did a survey in May to find out what designers are putting on their Web sites, what technologies they use and what their interest was in Flash Video. Of the respondents to the survey, which included Macromedia Dreamweaver users, 70 per cent want to deploy Flash video on their sites, and 74 per cent want to build interactive flash video experiences.

A total of 50 per cent of the respondents said they are currently putting video of some sort on their Web site. Macromedia executives said more developers are not using Flash Video on their Web sites because they find Flash development too challenging -- this was a determining factor in the release of the video kit.

"What we decided to do was put together a kit that covered everything from the simplest use of Flash and Flash video, all the way to the advanced stuff," Mike Downey, Technical Product Manager for Flash, told Digit. "We wanted to bridge the gap between the way a Dreamweaver user works and the more advanced Flash developers."

In the past, Web users often saw Flash as an intrusion into their browsing experience, but Downey said things have changed in recent years.

"That was more prevalent in the past, but I think it's the way developers are creating Flash content nowadays," said Downey. "As the technologies have evolved and matured, so has the developer base -- they are creating more responsible applications."

The kit includes four components: a Flash Video extension for Dreamweaver; a special version of Sorenson Squeeze that converts common video file formats into Flash Video format (FLV); a free 15-day trial of Flash Video Streaming Service powered by VitalStream that allows customers to harness all the power of streaming Flash Video without the need to install and maintain their own servers; and an introductory guide to deploying video online.

For a limited time, customers who purchase or upgrade to Macromedia Studio MX 2004 with Flash Professional and register online by September 30 will receive the video kit for free. In addition, for a limited time, the kit will be available for purchase to existing Studio MX 2004 with Flash Professional customers for $49 (around 28). Other upgrade options to receive the kit are available online.

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