Adobe unveiled on Sunday video-player software that lets consumers play back video online or offline.
Adobe Video Player builds on the leading design software
maker's Flash player, already the dominant technology used
to stream video online by sites ranging from YouTube to
MySpace to MSN to Yahoo Video.
The video player is due to become available to consumers
over the next several months, Adobe officials said.
Analysts hailed the new Adobe Video player as a technology
breakthrough by allowing consumers to download and carry
video from the Web to computers to mobile phones, while
ensuring programmers can deliver advertising and track video
Rival video players such as Windows Media Player from
Microsoft, QuickTime from Apple and RealPlayer
from RealNetworks run on a range of devices but have
none of the offline tracking features.
Fearful of piracy, media companies have been slow to release
much of their TV, film and video programming onto the Web.
The Adobe Video Player could ease such tensions by giving
consumers a convenient way to watch, and even, in certain
instances, to edit, video content, while assuring media
owners they can retain ultimate control over where the video
Adobe officials said they have relied on a set of familiar,
openly accessible technologies to create Adobe Video Player
and will distribute the software, for free, using the same
viral strategy that made Adobe's Flash and Acrobat into the
most popular ways to view video or read documents,
It relies on open standards for syndicating content,
synchronizing multimedia and advertising tracking. Consumers
disturbed that media owners can track their consumption
habits have the option of blocking such tracking.
And because Adobe is already a primary supplier of the prior
generation of video watching and editing tools, the company
may avoid the classic "chicken and egg problem" that delays
adoption of most new Web technologies: Will consumers use
the video player before media owners embrace it?
Adobe Media Player offers higher-quality Flash video,
full-screen playback and the ability to be disconnected from
the Web -- on airplanes, for example. Viewers also can
search for shows or share their ratings of shows with other
viewers and automatically download new episodes of shows.
is reportedly working with a wide range of media companies, and plans to announce partnership deals next month.
Adobe timed the announcement for
the start of the National Association of Broadcasters show,
a major industry event, now underway in Las Vegas.