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Adobe Releases HD-Capable Media Player

Dec 6, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Adobe Systems Inc. is selling a media player that can process high-definition downloadable content. Now it’s just a question of whether high-speed Internet providers can keep pace.
Adobe, the biggest maker of graphic-design software, this week began offering the third update of its Flash Player 9 software, which uses the same graphic standards as HD-DVD and Blu-ray players. The software may be downloaded for free off the San Jose-based company’s Web site.
Adobe Flash 9 users will be able to view HD content from news sites such as CBS, NBC and Fox News, and from social-networking sites such as MySpace and YouTube, the company said.
The software, combined with Adobe Flash Media Server 3, “brings new HD capabilities to millions of Flash developers and a new generation of viewers who are turning to the Web as the place to find their favorite shows and video content,” Kevin Lynch, senior VP and chief software architect for Adobe, said in a statement.
Since August, both Limelight Networks and Akamai Technologies began services specifically designed to transmit high-definition media and digital content over the Internet. Last month, Akamai announced its TheHDWeb.com site, a portal designed to illustrate to users the potential high-definition experience they can have online by showing movie trailers, professional sports games and music videos.
While the Adobe software will be able to handle the increased amount of content being created in HD, viewers may still receive compromised images because the bandwidth necessary to process the high-definition images may not always be available to typical high-speed Internet customers, especially during times of high demand, Pete Putman, publisher and editor of HD Web site HDTVexpert.com, said in an interview.
“It’s like someone offering you a chance to drive the latest Ferrari, but you live on a gravel road full of potholes,” said Putman. “Internet providers are not going to guarantee they can deliver the high bit rate” needed to transmit the content.
What also remains to be seen whether customers will process the content on their computers or send it to their TV sets. About one in seven U.S. households have both a high-definition television and a tuner capable of receiving HD signals, Nielsen Co. said in October. Year-earlier figures weren’t disclosed.
Meanwhile, retailers such as Best Buy sell high-definition computer monitors for as little as $200 for a 17-inch model to as much as $1,800 for a 30-inch monitor.
Adobe first offered Flash Player 9 in mid-2006.

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