updated 08:55 am EDT, Tue April 21, 2009
Flash for TVs shown at NAB
At a recession-dampened NAB show, Adobe's demo of Flash for the Digital Home was one of few exhibits to draw large crowds on Monday. The company set up a mock living room, complete with an easy chair to demonstrate the ground-breaking technology, which could finally bring IPTV into the mainstream.
The company has released optimized Flash technology for use in digital TVs, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes, allowing users to watch HD web videos alongside conventional broadcast channels. The move essentially levels the playing field between webcasters, in the style of Hulu, and traditional broadcasters. It also means more competition for an already battered broadcast industry -- especially local TV stations, which could one day be abandoned by networks as they switch to web-based delivery.
Adobe estimates that Flash is already installed on 98 percent of all desktop computers and a host of mobile devices. In statements, the company claims it now wants to "dramatically change the way we view content on televisions." The first Digital Home-equipped devices should start showing up later this year.
Adobe has also unveiled a software framework aimed at creating an open industry standard for media players. Code-named Strobe, the framework allows developers to assemble plug-and-play software components supporting rich media functionality, including social networking and advertising. Strobe is based on the Open Screen Project which has the backing of several industry giants, including Disney Interactive, Comcast, Intel and Netflix.