Adobe Demonstrates Flash Media Server 3, Adobe Media Player, and Cisco Integration at IBC

The practical benefits of the Adobe Media Player using the new Flash Media Player engine, combined with the new Flash Media Server 3, are three-fold, according to Guerard. First, streaming of protected content; second, some form of digital rights management on content being downloaded for local playback on the Adobe Media Server; and, third, the ability to protect the playlist of ad-driven downloaded content that is being viewed offline, reporting of number of playlist views when the playback device in reconnected to the internet. The latter, dubbed as unique by Adobe but already in use by lesser-known media players, raised privacy concerns with at least one analyst on the call, which Guerard attempted to allay by pointing out that the Flash Media Player already has such reporting abilitites for the online playback of content.

FMS in the Cisco CDS
Another integration that Adobe announced was its impending tie-in to Cisco’s Content Delivery System (CDS), which is one of the cornerstones of Cisco move into video as a core competency, as announced by John Chambers at a SuperComm keynote I attended in a few years ago. The intent, according to a second pre-announcement conference call, is to integrate Flash Media Server 3 into Cisco’s CDS to create a three-screen opportunity.

"With the addition of Adobe Flash Media Server 3 in the Cisco CDS, we are expanding the Flash ecosystem and continuing to offer our customers more deployment options," said Guerard. "We want to address the 10-foot [TV], 3-foot [computer], and 1-foot [mobile] screens in a single integrated solution."

"Cisco and Adobe share a common vision of delivering any content, anywhere, anytime, to any device," said Paul Bosco, vice president of video and broadband initiatives for Cisco. "Support for Adobe Flash Media Server 3 streaming on the CDS platform will greatly enhance our customers’ ability to deliver any stream to any of the wired, wireless and mobile devices in our connected lives—including an increasingly consistent user experience."

While the companies differ on their approach to standard versus proprietary content, with Cisco leaning more toward H.264 than toward FlashVideo 8, both acknowledge that the two can co-exist side-by-side for the foreseeable future (although no mention was made of the fact that the Moviestar Flash Media Player can stream H.264 in .mov or other traditional extension, nor was any mention made of the flaws in the FLV format that have caused Adobe to rethink its long-term use).

Also, for those of you who are still wondering, there is still no word on whether the new Flash Media Server 3 will stream On2’s VP7, which Flash CS3 can generate, but will not be playable from the upcoming Moviestar version of Flash Media Player. It’s also unclear as to whether the Adobe Media Player, which will ship in the first quarter of 2008, will be able to play VP7, although it’s unlikely given the fact that Moviestar’s video engine will power the video portion of Adobe Media Player. [Note: after publication, it was determined that the shipping version of Flash CS3 can not generate VP7 content.]

Integrated demonstrations are ongoing at the IBC trade show in Amsterdam, starting today and continuing through September 12.

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