Adobe joins the media player battle with… Adobe Media Player

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adobe_media_player.jpgYesterday Adobe launched Adobe Media Player 1.0, the software company’s attempt to break into the hard fought media player market. It is free to download and compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux.

Rather than just taking on rivals like iTunes and Windows Media Player directly, its primary function is neither to give you much control over your locally stored content nor to sell you content direct from a store. There are pros and cons to this. On the plus side, AMP grants users access to a pretty large selection of channels, including MTV, CBS, Nickelodeon and quite a lot more, and it won’t cost you anything to stream these directly thus offering up a huge selection of viewing material absolutely free.

Unfortunately, its main weakness is its management of your own stored media content. Although it pays lip service to the idea, it currently only supports FLV (Spark or VP6 codec) or MPEG-4 (H.264 codec) formats. Like most people, I have a modest amount of video content stored on my hard drive (it’s all kosher guv’, honest) and not one bit of it is in either of these formats, which pretty much puts any serious media management out of the window.

Although the list of supported channels is encouraging, the list of available shows is still limited, but that will no doubt improve over time. And for the moment it isn’t being all arsey about where exactly you’re viewing from when you want to watch its content, which many of the American TV channel websites tend to be.

It doesn’t look half bad either and has numerous means of ensuring you’re kept up to date with whichever shows you particularly like including a Favourites system and a customisable Home screen that keeps track of your own personal viewing preferences.

The main thing I’m not convinced by is Adobe’s claim to “provide viewers with control and flexibility to watch what they want, when they want — whether online or offline”. I’ve only had a short time to get to grips with it, but as far as I can tell, the majority of shows are designated for online availability only and with such a limited codec support, the chances of actually being able to use AMP when you’re offline are pretty slim.

And just think how much pressure ANOTHER new video content provider will put on our stuggling broadband networks. Guess the ISPs will pretty much have to shut up and sort out the networks now.

Adobe Media Player (via ars technica)

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