The US National Association of Broadcasters trade show currently taking place in Las Vegas saw an announcement yesterday that could change the face of internet video when Adobe revealed a Flash player that allows offline playback while giving media creators more control over how those videos are used.
Adobe Media Player [registration required], which is expected to be available by the end of 2007, will take on Microsoft's Windows Media Player on the desktop and the internet by offering a window to offline, as well as online, content.
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By building upon the company's dominant Flash video technology, Adobe intends to appeal to publishers by allowing them as much control as possible.
Put very simply, the popularity of streaming Flash video that has been behind sites such as YouTube has been due to the fact that it plays in an internet browser with no need to download a self-contained video file.
This is good for viewers, in that it's quick and simple, and good for video owners because they can keep hold of ownership unless they actually want to offer a download. However, quality is typically poor and videos are stuck online permanently.
The new player is claimed to offer better image quality and to allow publishers the power to allow videos to be moved offline to other devices, such as mobile phones - or not - and to track how content is used. Other facets, such as cataloguing and 'favouriting' videos will add to the user-appeal.
Crucially, the nature of Flash video means that any embedded advertising stays embedded - editing out portions is intended to be close to impossible. Adobe sees this key ability as opening the door to publishers allowing viewers to take their videos offline to watch whenever and wherever they please.