Adobe Media Player

Stephen Yagielowicz
First unveiled at the Web 2.0 Expo in 2007, Adobe Media Player (AMP) is now out of beta testing and poised to compete with Joost, Hulu and other video players seeking to tap into the exploding online video market.

Built on the cross-operating system runtime Adobe AIR, AMP is hybrid application that can run both when the user is online and offline. When used while online, AMP allows the user to download videos, view streaming-only media and browse AMP's own growing library of videos; when offline, users are able to watch only those videos that they have already downloaded.

Not surprisingly, given that it is an Adobe product, AMP is primarily for playback of Flash files, which it displays at 1080p resolution. Using the program's simple interface, users can select from a menu of featured programs and publishers, a list that is currently pretty limited, but which promises to expand rapidly now that AMP has completed its beta testing phase.

Publishers are in control of which videos can be downloaded and which can only be streamed — a fact that might reduce the appeal of AMP for some end users, but is likely to be attractive to the publishers themselves.

While AMP's current model calls for the player to be supported by advertising revenue, Adobe has said that paid content subscriptions and pay-per-download content are likely to be added in the future.

While Joost offers a far larger content library, a household name like Adobe should be able to strike deals that enable them to overcome that disadvantage quickly.

One piece currently absent from the AMP puzzle is the ability to support external media players and/or set-top boxes. Adobe reportedly will add such abilities within the next two years; in the meantime, users will have to satisfy themselves with the ability to output their AMP content to their TV — which results in a pretty high-quality image when the source file is at 1080p. Adobe Media Player is available for download here.