Macromedia to bolster video on the Web

Macromedia on Tuesday announced a video kit to enable users of its authoring tools suite, Macromedia Studio MX 2004 with Flash Professional, to more easily add video to their Web sites.

Video is added through use of a Dreamweaver MX 2004 extension and can be viewed with Macromedia's Flash Player rich client software.

"Basically, if you want to put Flash video on your Web site, this kit will allow you to do it quickly and easily using Dreamweaver," said Mike Downey, technical product manager for Flash at Macromedia. Video is being used in applications such as sales and marketing videos as well as in advertising, he said.

Macromedia's kit makes video more of an integrated part of the development process rather than just grafted, add-on functionality, said analyst Paul Palumbo, research director at AccuStream.

"Essentially, what they're doing is sort of expanding or decoupling the linear nature of what is video or adding video to the Internet and making it into an integrated process in terms of the production workflow," Palumbo said. Through the kit, applications can be developed enabling users to navigate through a video rather than just watching it, he said.

The kit ships in September. It features four components: a Flash Video extension for Dreamweaver; a special version of Sorenson Squeeze that converts common video file formats into Flash Video format; a free 15-day trial of the Flash Video Streaming Service, enabling use of streaming video without installing it on a customer's own servers; and an introductory guide to deploying video online. The Flash Video Streaming Service is being provided by VitalStream and also includes real-time reports for monitoring audience viewing habits.

Customers who purchase or upgrade to Macromedia Studio MX 2004 with Flash Professional and who register online by Sept. 30 can receive the video kit for free. The kit also will be available to existing Studio MX 2004 customers for US$49. Other options for receiving the kit are at http://www.macromedia.com/go/videokitupgrades/.

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