Over at the NAB Show
* in Vegas, Adobe has some potential
good news for those of us with a vested interest in the success of the Flash Platform
As part of a PR push at the NAB Show, Adobe has announced
that it will team up with a number of partners to bring the Flash Platform to TV sets, set-top boxes and Blu-Ray players. The name of this technology is (and it's a mouthful) the "Adobe Flash Platform for the Digital Home". This presumably means that, among other things, some much-anticipated web-enabled TV sets will be Flash-enabled, opening up a whole new market for developers in the Flash/Flex space. This is likely related to the "Open Screen Project
" at Adobe.I'm a partner, not a side-kick
The partners they list include Atlantic Records, Broadcom, Comcast, Disney Interactive Media Group,
Intel, Netflix, STMicroelectronics, The New York Times Company, NXP
Semiconductors and Sigma Designs. Note that some are content providers, some are hardware manufacturers while others are cable companies... so this seems to be a pretty broad base of partners across industries to kick it all off with.
Sounds like the goal is to allow a TV (or set-top box or Blu-Ray player) manufacturer to drop an (STM) chip into their kit, allowing their device to gain Flash capabilities (e.g. FLV decompression, decryption, UI support). Content providers can then package Flash content into their offerings which is then served up in a seamless way. Might this allow Flash applications to be delivered on Blu-Ray disks? Truly interactive TV shows on cable? Bizarre content/software mash-ups on your TV set? Allow yourself to dream.Flash Lite redux? Oh please no.
One quote from the press release makes me a little uneasy, though: they describe this new version of Flash as an "optimized implementation of Flash technology (...)" That very statement is enough to give me cold sweats and resurrects unpleasant memories of Flash Lite
as "a highly optimized implementation of the Flash runtime for mobile
phones, consumer electronic devices, and Internet-connected digital
I know that everything has its place and purpose, but part of me sees Flash Lite as little more than a crippled version of Flash 8 that should be dragged out behind the wood shed and shot
.Where art thou, Silverlight?
MLB recently ditched Microsoft's Silverlight technology in favour of Flash-based video. With until-now Microsoft partner Netflix (which is steadily moving from a disk-based to a streaming model) now getting on board with this new Flash initiative, could Adobe have finally found the rabbit punch that they need to get the definitive upper-hand on Microsoft's fledgling RIA technology
As awesome a video technology as Silverlight is, in a throw-down of "platform-like" technologies, market share is everything
(see: BETA vs VHS, MacOS vs MS-DOS/WinXX, DVD-HD vs Blu-Ray... Rocky Road vs Chocolate). Eventually, for the good of everyone, somebody has to "win".
One must assume that Adobe is hoping that this is the initiative that finally puts them over the top in the RIA wars.
* The National Association of Broadcasters trade show