Adobe Pass to push multidevice video rights

The Flash- and HTML-based Adobe Pass technology will usher in a "TV everywhere" era, Adobe says. It'll also give the company a bridge to places its Flash Player can't reach.

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Adobe Systems today announced a service it hopes will give TV companies a way to let people watch their video where they want--for example, cable TV subscribers who'd like to see a show on their computer, tablet, or mobile phone.

Such sharing has been difficult because of rights management issues: those who create premium video content are leery of seeing it spread willy-nilly, and supporting a multitude of devices is complex and expensive.

The Adobe Pass service--key to an "industry movement known as TV Everywhere," Adobe says--is designed to smooth over these issues using a combination of Adobe's Flash software and HTML5 Web technology. Users need only log in to the service; no "additional" downloads are required beyond, presumably, Flash or a browser that's up to snuff.

"The Adobe Pass solution enables content providers and programmers to adjust to a changing market- allowing consumers to watch pay TV outside of their living room, while staying committed to a single provider," Adobe said in a statement.

The service works on Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Blackberry OS, and Google TV, Adobe said. And it's won over a few partners in the pay-TV business, both content creators and distributors: Turner Broadcasting System, MTV Networks, Comcast, and Synacor. Those who want to use the service have to contact Adobe for pricing.

The move shows Adobe's gradual move from lower-level technology to higher-level services. The company has a big business selling programming tools that let people create Flash content and applications, but Adobe Pass bridges to a future where Flash Player can't be expected to be installed--on Apple's iPhone and iPad, for example.

"The solution leverages the industry leading Flash Platform for a seamless high-quality experience along with Adobe Flash Access for enhanced security," Adobe said in a statement. "Adobe Pass also utilizes HTML5 for devices where Adobe Flash technology is not yet available."

But Adobe offers some reassuring words for piracy-phobic pay-TV companies that choose the Flash route: "The Flash Access client-side security built into Flash Player 10.1 and higher enables fraud prevention by binding the user to their device so limits can be set on devices per-household account," Adobe said.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.


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