Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Adobe Media Player is Here - RSS feeds and Offline Viewing Now Available

Adobe Media Player is finally here and it sets a new standard for the delivery of video content in a rich media experience for both online and offline viewing. I just read posts by Dan Rayburn, Andy Plesser and Duncan Reily who have all reported that it's official and now available for public download. So without hesitation I raced over to Adobe and downloaded it myself to get the party started. I've already set up a few subscriptions including Beet.TV, The GigaOm Show and The Digg Reel just to name a few but there's plenty more to choose from including the Twilight Zone channel or Yo' MTV Raps.

Silicon Alley Insider reported a few days ago that Adobe Media Player (AMP) would be released to the public this week and it would offer many new features. In the report explained that Adobe Media Player is different from other players by offering playback of high quality MPEG-4 content and unlike other players like Joost or Blinkx, also Adobe will not have to deal with big bandwidth costs since the content is downloaded and played back locally but will see only a small cut in advertising revenue since most of that will go to content owners, and the new player will most likely be widely adopted with since people are accustomed to Flash Player downloads and will see AMP as an upgrade option.

A pre-release version of AMP had already available at Adobe Labs and had been used to test user experience and for content owners to test the RSS feeds. The new player is based on Adode Air which enables content to be viewed on-line and off-line. With AMP you'll be able to add your own RSS feeds to get automatic content downloads. You'll also be able to play .flv files outside of the browser, something you haven't been able to do before with out the aid of another player.

Andy Plesser notes, "Unlike iTunes, which provides little opportunities for video producers to monetize through advertising, the AMP platform is highly customizable. AMP supports banner advertising and all sorts of in-stream media. (Implementation is not that simple and requires some coding skills.)"

In his post, "Hold the Presses: Adobe Enters the Media Business: Advertising Sales as Software Services", Plesser describes how AMP's advertising model works and that he's proud to have Beet.TV be part of the launch. He included an interview with Adobe's Laurel Reitman who discusses the rich media experience , file formats and servers.

Dan Rayburn explains, "One of the biggest things that Adobe is promoting about the new player is the ability for you to be able search within the player for free content you can to subscribe to and the new features for monetization and branding options. Content owners now have the ability to take downloadable Flash content and include offline advertising, customize the look of the player and collect measurement data of offline content consumption."

Two video interviews with Ashley Still, Adobe Sr. Product manager that are featured below. One is from by Rafe Needleman who says, "I see AMP as a competitor to Hulu (related stories), although Adobe's Ashley Manning Still, who demonstrated the product for me, considers Hulu--an online-only Flash-based player--as complementary or perhaps a partner. But since both AMP and Hulu are competing for the same advertising revenues, I'd say that puts them at odds."

Ashley Still contended that Hulu is big partner with Adobe while Joost is a competitor and that Adobe is an enabling technology provider and will be adding more content partners in the future.

Robert Scoble also interviewed Ashley Still in this Qik video who says for content owners it's a compelling way to redistribute content and Adobe is looking at this as a big distribution platform. It will have free subscriptions to shows and along with different pricing structures to purchase content. There is a SDK that will be available but no APIs as of yet but you'll be able to brand your player. Different resolutions will be supported from SD to HD video all the way up to 1080p. It will work on Mac and Windows and Linux soon.

Adobe also debuts Adobe TV which Duncan Reily notes, "Adobe TV is available at or as a network in Adobe Media Player and offers “expert instruction and original series programming” about Adobe products. Adobe TV offers four channels targeted at Photographers, Designers, Video Professionals, and Developers. Content comes from “Adobe evangelists, leading trainers, subject matter experts, and luminaries.” Over 200 videos are available for the launch."