March 24, 2007
TV Networks Move to a New Online Video Platform?
Robert Reinhardt announced on his blog this week that ABC.com has switched to a new video platform from Move Networks.
The Move Media Player plug-in and streaming solution uses the VP7 codec from On2, whose VP6 codec is used in Adobe's Flash 8. On2 claims that VP7 scales from dial-up to high-definition, and the qualitative difference for broadband large video in ABC's player is striking.
It's fascinating how Move Networks appears to have approached the market. They've clearly targeted large video content producing organizations with huge audiences, and have built tools that would be attractive to their marketing divisions. I have no idea what all this costs, but Robert Reinhardt's blog posting suggests that, at least for this market, the Move Networks solution scales more affordably than the competition.
This is also the first time in recent memory that a new plug-in enters the market in a way that truly has a chance to succeed. Unlike past practices of browser and OS bundling that, along with ActiveX auto-install, made Flash Player a near ubiquitous presence, we may see adoption of the Move Media Player driven top down from the content providers that benefit the most and hold the largest cards in online video. ABC, Fox and The CW now rely on Move Networks, can the rest be far behind? Can YouTube?
However, I'm not sure where or if smaller organizations fit into Move's model. For instance, if your client is not currently selling advertising, paying for streaming services and the bandwidth costs that come with high-traffic, broadband video, and doesn't have content users would be willing to jump through hoops, however slight, to get at, Flash 8+ video would still be the best route for those clients to take -- but best keep an eye on Move Networks.
Posted by Lewis Francis at March 24, 2007 8:49 PM
What was adobe thinking not upgrading to VP7?
To my knowledge Adobe has licensed VP6 and VP7 at the same time. So I wouldn't be surprised when Adobe comes out with next version (9.5? 10?) of player based upon On2 VP7 codec.
I wouldn't be terribly surprised if we hear something about VP7 in tomorrow's CS3 announcement. A chromeless, full-screen presentation with the VP7 codec would be a beautiful thing.
My company, IndustryNext recently launched an offering that might be of interest. www.enScramble.com is a web service that provides deterrent-level Flash video protection, securing content against online piracy and unauthorized distribution. enScramble does the following:
Serves video files from a standard web server eliminating the need for and associated costs of specialized streaming servers.
Delivers content through a standard Adobe Flash Player.
Allows users to designate on which websites the content will play and for how long.
We are currently in development of an enterprise version of enScramble that will offer an even greater level of protection and customization. This enterprise version of enScramble does the following:
Supports higher quality video via the On2 codec.
Allows for easy integration into existing infrastructure and system architecture.
Increases the protection and encryption of the video on a per view basis (versus per piece of content).
With my blog post, I had no intention of implying that ABC.com's decision to switch to Move would be a death knell for Flash Video everywhere. Lewis, your observations about Move seem accurate to me, in that they're going after big clients and their needs. However, Flash Video isn't going away. It's the best integrated video experience in the browser, and that won't change. ABC.com's Full Episode Streaming site wouldn't be the same in AJAX/HTML--the transitions, graphics, and look-and-feel are the domain of the Flash Player.
Mark, thanks for the post -- I'll definitely check out your company's offering and keep it in mind the next time a client expresses a wish for DRM'd Flash vid content.
Robert, I couldn't agree more, and also hope no one comes away from my post with the impression that Flash video is dead -- far, far from it.
BTW, the ABC Flash video player and experience was a nice piece of work, one that I always pointed out to clients and colleagues when asked if Flash video was a valid delivery format. Kudos to you and the team at Schematic.
Another article from Robert Reinhardt shedding further light on why companies like ABC might choose to move away from Flash for their video needs. Of interest to me is his listing of another video plug-in competitor in Vividas, who apparently is getting some traction with Sony, and that both the Move Networks and Vividas' players employ hardware support to display full or near full-screen video. (via JD on EP)
Thanks Lewis, interestingly enough I have posted about our live solution on Adobe/Flash oriented boards and blogs and for some reason in certain cases my posts have been deleted! Clearly there are certain vested interests at stake here. Also as an update the enterprise version is now available.
UPDATE: For those of us who are not large video content producing organizations… Move Networks technology is now available by subscription. For a beta demo and free trial visit www.stepforward.tv
Whether you are sharing videos for personal use or broadcasting business content to worldwide audiences this web based solution lets you share or broadcast videos through public or private environments + edit videos, create new clips and broadcast custom video channels. (Some features may not be available with beta release)
Adobe just announced a new Media Player to compete with Windows Media Player. I suspect that Adobe is holding the card on Vp7 but by the end of the year we will see Web 3.0 start to emerge and I think Microsoft is really worried.
Furthermore, Adobe Apollo is in the works which will be the beginning of the end of stand alone applications such as Microsoft Word, Powerpoint and the like as traditional Java and C++ programers begin to see the light (what little creative light their artistically challenged brains can see)of what Action Script 3.0 can do.
Everyone is touting Web 2.0 but that will be old hat before most people even know anything about 2.0. Heck some of the most successful websites such as Drudge report are still in Web .75
I envision the new web really switching between 3 objects- the common computer monitor on the desk, HD (1920x1080) TV screens and mobile phones. This requires the user to make choices of how they want to access things. The mobile network providers are trying too hard to monetize content over creating useful intergration. I guess the same thing can be said for the coaxial cable companies, who can barely figure out how to insert their own tuner cards and Microsoft made the mistake of joining forces with the lowest mental denominator (the cable companies) in an effort at providing entetainment through the PC. For the most part Microsoft was on the right track, but it will not take off because cable companies can never get it right. My idea in 1993 that the cable companies needed to provide fiber optics to the curb and otherwise keep their mouths shut and let others provide content and new media, didnt seem to have too much effect; and now Microsoft has joined up with them. I must admit, Microsoft was a phenomena in its day; never the best OS but certainly the most successful.
Most of the internet as we know it today will be replaced over the next 3 years (expecially if I have anything to say about it) and some of your Web 2.0 billionaires might end up going the way of Microsoft; scrambling for ideas. Certainly Google and Yahoo's ideas of just plain stealing content, is a bad idea and will falter. Who wants to be creative just so a couple of billionaires can make more money? At least I will give credit to Microsoft for sharing some of the wealth in the day.
Adobe has most of the pieces in place and now people such as us (designers, progammers and consumers), must figure out how to put all those pieces together effectively and make our hardware do a better job for us.
I am working on it. What will emerege, I hope, will blow away what we think about the web, televsion, consumer marketing, mobile phones and even education and bring us closer to what we have seen in Hollywood science fiction. Something that Bill Gates has also dreamed of but never been able to pull off.
But this will happen with an emphasis on quality. I think the layout of most web pages in "web 2.0" across the board is a giant eye sore along with their ad campaigns. A web page today looks worse than the worse designed magazine of all time. Web 2.0 has given us a bunch of spahegtti slapped against a wall and served up as dinner. No thanks. I will wait until we can do it right.
Move Video player is terrible. Can't even get it to download on my Mac. Come ON!!!