Adobe aims to stave off Silverlight with video encoder

Adobe Flash Media Encoding Server, due later this year, converts videos to Flash format.

Ratcheting up the battle for the rich media space, Adobe Systems later this year plans to offer Adobe Flash Media Encoding Server, which is software to move video content to Adobe's Flash format.

Unveiled last week, the software makes it easier for users of Windows Media and other formats to make the conversion to the Adobe platform. This could be particularly beneficial as Adobe takes on Microsoft's Silverlight browser plug-in technology in the rich Internet application realm.

"[For] customers who have thought about using Silverlight because they have their existing Windows Media content, this product helps make it easier for them to switch to Flash instead of Silverlight," said Laurel Reitman, senior product manager for Flash Media Server services at Adobe.

Video originating in formats such as Windows Media, MPEG-4, and H.264 will be encoded or trans-coded to FLV or F4V file formats for playing video in the Flash runtime. Pre-processing filters in Flash Media Encoding Server perform color space conversions, normalize audio, and sharpen video, the company said.

"Flash is the leading solution for delivery of video on the Internet," Reitman said.

An enterprise use for the software would be incorporating it into a Web site to enable employees to create videos for training, meetings, and marketing.

Deployed on a Windows system, it works with either Flash Media Server or a Web server. Based on Rhozet technology, the product marks Adobe's entrance into video encoding, said Reitman.

"People really appreciate products with the Adobe brand and software available from Adobe. There are a number of customers that are looking for a complete solution," she said.

Grid trans-coding, in which a number of machines are hooked together to share encoding load, is supported in the product.

Flash Media Encoding Server is due to ship by the end of 2008 and will cost US$6,000.

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Paul Krill

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