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Adobe Flash, the rich media technology that's pretty much ubiquitous on the internet, will soon have a second home: your television set.
Thanks to deals that will include the Flash software in the chips that go into televisions and set-top boxes, in the near future you may start coming across Flash while watching and using your TV.
While we've heard a lot about convergence over the years and many of the expectations were overblown, it does appear that the reality of internet-aware television sets are upon us. At CES 2009, a number of announcements in this area were made. One came from Yahoo, which has inked deals with Sony and Samsung to use its technology to produce internet-connected television sets that will make 'widgets' available to their owners.
Today, Adobe is making its move in the space. From Adobe's press release officially announcing the Flash Platform for the Digital Home:
The Adobe Flash Platform for the Digital Home now enables the delivery of HD Web videos to digital home devices via the Flash Video (FLV) file format. Consumers will be able to enjoy rich, interactive viewing experiences and amazing new ways to engage with HD content on televisions. Flash technology-based applications will allow users to quickly switch between television programming and Web content outside the Web browser. With the optimized implementation of Flash technology, content providers are able to extend their reach to millions of connected digital home devices, and cable operators and device manufacturers are able to develop new services and powerful user interfaces that deliver immersive experiences.
Adobe would seem to have a significant advantage when it comes to competing for the television. Flash is highly-robust, has a significant developer base and has already been used to develop countless rich media applications that would be relevant to the television set. And since it's already used so widely to produce applications for computers, the potential for developers to leverage an existing technology like Flash to develop on multiple devices offers a lot of appeal.
Already, Netflix, Disney and the New York Times have signed on to develop Flash-based television applications, and Comcast will be including Flash in its digital efforts.
It's easy to see the massive potential and appeal of television applications from the perspective of providers but obviously the big question is still whether or not consumers will be as excited. Hopefully we'll have a good answer within the next year or so as more of these internet-enabled televisions make their way into homes.
Photo credit: blakespot via Flickr.