Adobe Media player delivers streaming video into your desktop

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Adobe Media Player is a free video streaming application that runs on the Adobe Air platform. What it is is a desktop content delivery vehicle for “Adobe TV”, which comprises a number of licensed networks and channels offers content creators the opportunity publish their videos.

Content is managed within the app so that it is saved and be accessed offline, and a range of video resolutions (480i, 720p, and 1080p) are supported.

This is Adobe’s foray into the content streaming market, competing with the likes of Miro, Joost, and a few dozen others that have mushroomed over the past few months (see this posting).

With all these streaming video services popping up its hard to see why a user would favor any particular one over the others. I think I am a typical user in that I personally would seek out YouTube first and foremost whenever I am seeking video content, but Adobe Media Player is distinct from YouTube in a number of ways, although it is not really differentiated from the many other desktop content management/delivery platforms.

Here are more notes on this program:

  • The content: the video content offered is licensed from a number of networks such as CBS, MTV, PBS and others, such that you are able to watch older episodes of CSI for example.
  • Finding what you seek: although the videos are sorted into subject categories as well as networks, I got a feeling that the complete unpredictability of the kind of programming that is offered will make it unlikely that I or a user like me would be turning to Adobe Media Player to watch video content. Unless the user has the time and inclination to simply browse what’s on offer, in which case he/she might find some gems. The search box, unfortunately, offers search within episodes but not across networks.
  • The user experience: the program feels like a very sleek iTunes or Podcasting client for videos. It actually looks and feels good, very responsive and intuitive, making navigating through the program quite a pleasant experience. The option to bookmark favorite channels is quite convenient.
  • Downloading: although in general downloading media takes places efficiently and seamlessly, some programs are blocked and are only viewable when online.
  • Quality: in general the quality is excellent.

The verdict: overall a nice product, whether or not it will be successful and/or relevant. Programs such as Miro and Joost have an advantage and Adobe has some ground to cover (Miro has a large, thriving community that contributes content, Joost has a larger network and more licensing deals). It is difficult to imagine that any of these content management platforms will differentiate itself based on content, as they are all dependent on the same content sources/networks, so perhaps what it will boil down to in the end is the design of the product and the community that is built around it. I do not think that the fact that Adobe requires the installation of it’s AIR platform to run this will end up being a liability for the product.

To summarize, a good product with good content and a good user experience, but to be honest I’m not sure that I will keep it installed on my machine, the simple reason being that I do not have the time to browse random content. The question is whether Adobe Media Player can get to the critical mass of content that can compel users to actively install and use it, and that remains to be seen.

Version Tested: 1.0 Build 391096

Compatibility: Windows Vista/XP, Mac. Requires Adobe Air.

Go to Adobe Media Player page to download the latest version (approx 1.4 megs).