Web video ascendant as Flash goes mobile

It is one of those days when separate announcements reinforce a single message.

On the technical side, we’ve had Adobe’s announcement, here at MAX in Los Angeles, of Flash Player 10.1 which will bring hardware accelerated HD video to a number of smartphones, including Windows Mobile, Palm Web OS, Google Android and Symbian. Blackberry maker RIM is also on board. Spot the missing Smartphone – though who knows, there could be an Apple-shaped announcement too at any time.

Users on the other hand do not care what software is delivering their video, they just want it to work. England’s numerous football fans will care even more about that now, since the forthcoming World Cup qualifying match with Ukraine will apparently be shown only on the Web, on a pay-per-view basis. Actually it is not quite web-only; you can also to out to watch it in the cinema, harking back to the days when few had TVs at home:

Fans will be asked to pay between £4.99 and £11.99, depending on when they sign up, to watch the match on their computer and it will also be screened in selected Odeon cinemas.

I’m particularly interested in the developer angle. Web video is programmable, and where Flash goes, so too goes the ActionScript runtime. One angle is social media, which the BBC talked to me about at the end of last year in the context of iPlayer. It will be fun to see this and other innovations as the possibilities opened up by web broadcasting sink home.

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2 comments on this post.
  1. Stefan Richter:

    As a Flash developer I am excited that mobile finally seems to be ready for prime time.

    But that aside, I think you make a great point in regards to social media and services such as iPlayer. Why exactly isn’t the BBC pushing the boat out and letting people co-watch programs, discuss it as it plays live, rate, vote, etc? It’s almost too trivial not to do, but all we have essentially is what we’ve had since video first popped up on the web: a square box playing some video. Is that really the best they can come up with (and I don’t just mean the BBC)?

  2. Jackie Crook:

    @ Stefan agree completely, with bells on. More interaction and who is creating the content? The web needs to get more televisual rather than tele trying to become more webby.