Adobe Media Player review

10Apr08

Adobe recently announced the new Adobe Media Player, based on Adobe AIR. It offers playback of streamed, downloaded or locally-stored content, and can be viewed in 1080p, 720p or 480i resolutions. It lets you mark favorite shows, and subscribe to them, and will automatically receive new episodes when they become available. Basically, it purports to let you view your shows when you want them, just like Tivo. You can choose to watch the show in the windowed format, or full screen.

Player home page
Adobe Media Player home page

One thing that can make or break a new medium is content.

When Apple released the first iPod, it ensured there was sufficient music to buy and download from iTunes. Beyond the form factor and sheer coolness of the iPod, the simplicity of purchasing music, made it successful. Likewise with the release of Sony Playstation 3 or Microsoft Xbox 360, it was absolutely necessary for the manufacturer to ensure that game developers were lined up to release key titles at launch.

The same yardstick can be put to the newly released Adobe Media Player. What does it have and how good is it?

Content…

… is still quite limited at this point, but they seem to be added new shows. The bigger content suppliers are CBS, PBS, MTV, HGTV, Food Network, etc. For CBS, you can find shows such as all three CSI series, Survivor, and Jericho. On PBS there’s Nova, Frontline, Nature, etc. It does seem that they have covered some territory there. NBC and ABC haven’t signed on with content yet, but hopefully they will soon. You can search the catalog by genre, but many genres don’t have any significant content. For example, “Children” has either “WatchMojo.com Parenting”, or “Glu Youth”. The latter seems to be some sort of Indian programming. The content from HGTV and Food Network were more like short videos from excerpts of real shows.

Food Network content
Food Network content

OK, so content ain’t great at this point. How about quality?

Quality…

… of the CSI series were better than expected. Widescreen format, but not quite 1080 resolution, but definitely quite close. On my 42″ plasma TV, you can tell it’s not regular broadcasting, but I can live with it. There’s some posterization of colors, but not too significant. The PBS Nature series is not quite as good. Widescreen but you can see the pixelation. Then there’s PBS Great Performances. It’s pretty awful — small and very pixelated on the TV. The rest of the shows I tried, such as the ones from HGTV or Food Network were of the 480i variety.

NY episode
CSI: NY episode

Quality seems dependent on what you choose to watch.

What’s the verdict?

Verdict…

… is I’m impressed with the few CBS shows, but less with the rest of the content or quality (or lack thereof). Adobe does seem to be adding new shows, as I see that there’s a new episode of CSI: NY added yesterday. And some of the videos on HGTV or Food Network are educational. I’ll reserve final judgement for now, and will keep an eye out for it.

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One Response to “Adobe Media Player review”

  1. 1 Petr

    First time hearing about this player. Going to give it a try soon.



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