Adobe Joins Content Fray With Media Player 1.0 And Adobe TV
Adobe believes it has an edge over rivals Windows Media Player, RealPlayer, and iTunes by not constraining users by platform or proprietary software.
By Paul McDougall, InformationWeek
Adobe (NSDQ: ADBE) on Wednesday entered the hotly contested markets for digital media content and playback software with the debut of Media Player 1.0 and Adobe TV.
Media Player 1.0 is Adobe's answer to Microsoft's Windows Media Player, RealNetworks' RealPlayer, and Apple's iTunes applications.
Adobe believes it has an edge in that its new media player lets consumers download digital content, such as movies, TV shows, and music, from the Internet without having to launch their Web browser.
"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, Adobe senior VP for creative solutions, in a statement.
Media Player 1.0 also lets users fetch high-definition content in video resolutions of 1080p, 720p, or 480i and it supports Adobe Flash-enabled programs.
Closely related to Adobe's Media Player 1.0 debut is the launch of Adobe TV.
Adobe TV is available from within Media Player 1.0 and offers consumers access to mainstream movies, television shows, and other content. Adobe has forged deals with CBS, MTV, PBS, Universal Music, and other companies to provide content for Adobe TV.
The deals give Adobe the right to Netcast popular shows like CSI: Miami,The Hills, and The Twilight Zone.
Still, it could be difficult for Adobe, as a newcomer, to make inroads in the hotly competitive digital content market. Microsoft's Windows Media Player counted about 75 million users as of December 2007, while RealPlayer boasted about 27.5 million, according to Nielsen Online.
Apple's iTunes player had 35.6 million users as of December and is also the fastest growing media player application, Nielsen said.
Overcoming its rivals' installed-base advantage won't be easy for Adobe.
While RealNetworks may be vulnerable as a standalone vendor, iTunes is closely linked to Apple's hot selling iPod MP3 player and Windows Media Player is bundled withMicrosoft (NSDQ: MSFT)'s ubiquitous Windows operating system.
Adobe officials appear undaunted. Loiacono called Media Player 1.0 and Adobe TV "a merger of TV Guide and DVR for Internet video content." Media Player 1.0 is available as a free download from Adobe's Web site.
It's exciting! What else can we say?