San Jose (CA) – Adobe is making its entry into what is widely called a “next-generation” TV era on the Internet. Built on the company’s AIR platform, the Media Player 1.0 launched late yesterday with an initial set of episodes and episode snippets from shows airing on major TV networks. Strangely enough, while the software is advertised as a cross-platform media player, Adobe prohibits the use of the software on any device other than desktop and notebook PCs.
Adobe’s Media Player (AMP) should not be confused with other “Media Players”, such as Microsoft’s Windows Player (WMP). While the WMP is a playback platform for most of popular media files available offline and online, the AMP is a pure online play that competes with applications such as Joost. Adobe describes its AMP as a “cross-platform media player [that] provides exciting new ways for viewers to discover and interact with their favorite content, while offering revenue and brand-building opportunities for content publishers.”
At first sight, the AMP greets the user with a cluttered user interface and dark colors of navigation elements that look fancy, but do not make it easy to find your way around. But then, the AMP is all about content and depending on your expectations you may be surprised or disappointed. Prominently displayed content from shows such as “The Hills” turn out to be only previews and short snippets, but there are full 45-minute episodes from CSI or Survivor available as well. In total, there are currently 39 “networks” that are offering content, ranging from smaller providers such as “BigThink” to the big guys such as CBS, HGTV, MTV and PBS.
“With Adobe Media Player, we’re bringing viewers and content owners closer together, with an experience that doesn’t constrain them by platform or proprietary software application,” said John Loiacono, senior vice president of Creative Solutions at Adobe, in a prepared statement. “It’s a merger of TV Guide and DVR for Internet video content. Some great shows, like The Hills from MTV and CSI from CBS, is already available to view and more will be coming soon.”
But despite the fact that Adobe calls AMP a cross-platform solution, that, by the way, enables users to download Internet video outside the browser in the Adobe Flash format and view it in 1080p, 720p or 480i video display resolutions, the cross-platform claim is somewhat limited at this time. The software’s end-user license agreement states that users “may not use the software on any non-PC device or with any embedded or device version of any operating system.”
Adobe explicitly mentions that the AMP must not be installed on any mobile devices, set-top-boxes, handhelds, phones, web pads, tablets and Tablet PCs (that are not running Windows XP Tablet PC Edition), game consoles, TVs, DVD players, electronic billboards or other digital signage, internet appliances or other internet-connected devices, PDAs, medical devices, ATMs, telematic devices, gaming machines, home automation systems, kiosks, remote control devices, or any other consumer electronics device, operator-based mobile, cable, satellite, or television systems or other closed system devices – and even Media Center PCs as long as they are not running Windows XP Media Center Edition and its successors.