New TVs may make Flash the MP3 of digital video

Flash to hit lounge rooms with Flash-enabled televisions

Flash, the technology used by YouTube to stream video clips into your browser window, is now installed on 98 percent of all computers, according to Adobe Systems, which acquired the technology in 2005. The company also says that about 80 percent of Web videos are viewed using Flash. If those stats are accurate, they make a solid case for building Flash into living-room televisions. A New York Times report said Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen was to announce the details on upcoming Flash-enabled televisions Monday at the high-profile National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas.

A few years ago, it would have been hard to find a Web technologist who would predict that Flash would still be around in 2010. Flash was best known for its use in gratuitous website splash pages that flattered site owners' egos but made exasperated Web surfers reach for their back buttons. A Flash parody site, Skip Intro, captured the moment in time.

But when YouTube launched in early 2005, Flash browser add-ons suddenly went from an unwanted annoyance to a must-have accessory. The only way to watch YouTube was to install Flash. YouTube drove Flash adoption, which drove other online video creators to deliver their clips via Flash. Adobe makes its money selling software to create and serve Flash content.

Narayen told the Times that Adobe has set up partnerships with Intel, Comcast, Netflix and set-top box maker Broadcom to build and deliver Flash capability for home TV watchers. That lineup sounds impressive, but it doesn't include Sony and Samsung, two top TV makers.

Besides Flash TV sets, Narayen talked up Flash-enabled cellphones to the Times. Those would make it easy for video makers to serve the same content to computers, phones and living-room screens. Apple and other smartphone makers have balked at supporting Flash, in part because handsets still lack the processing power and battery life to handle it.

Still, it seems inevitable that Internet video will be watchable on any device with a screen. Companies that sell or deliver video won't want to support multiple formats. Competing technologies to Flash, such as Microsoft's Silverlight and Apple's QuickTime, claim better video quality and other advantages. But Flash's ubiquity may make it the MP3 of Internet video -- it's less than perfect, but it plays.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Boutin

The Industry Standard
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?