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Adobe to take Flash videos to desktop

Adobe Media Player, set for release later this year, can play back downloaded video files, rather than browser-based video streams. Image: Adobe's Media Player for offline media

Not content with having a dominant position in Web video, Adobe Systems on Monday is expected to launch Adobe Media Player for playing Flash videos offline.

At the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas next week, Adobe is expected to detail the new player for downloaded media which will work with Windows or Mac desktops. Currently, Adobe provides no way for playing back Flash videos outside of the browser.

Formerly code-named Philo, Adobe Media Player will let users subscribe to and play video podcasts published with RSS (Really Simple Syndication). The application also allows users to comment on and share videos.

Adobe has developed the player with content publishers in mind, providing security tools and a way to customize the presentation for downloaded video files.

Publishers who already use Flash for streaming Web video can reuse those same assets for downloadable content, said Mark Randall, chief strategist for Adobe's Dynamic Media Organization. Seventy-six percent of broadcasters already use Flash for Web streaming, he said.

The Adobe Media Player will support two kinds of security: One will allow a downloaded, shareable video file to be bundled with advertising that can't be separated. The other content control system will tie downloaded content to specific machines or people.

By taking advantage of extensions to RSS, publishers can also deliver different forms of advertising such as text, animation or videos, according to Adobe executives.

Adobe will provide a server that can track, using browser cookies, how users view downloaded media. That information can be reported back to publishers.

In addition, Adobe is scheduled to announce that it has improved the fidelity of Flash videos.

The Adobe Media Player software, which is built using Adobe's Apollo platform, will go into beta testing later in the spring and will be generally available later this year, said Craig Barberich, group product manager. The company intends to offer a version for Linux and to support different media types.