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Monday, April 16, 2007
Adobe Player Allows Viewers to Watch Video Offline


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 usage.

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 ends up.

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, respectively.

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.

Adobe 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.


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