Adobe Adopts Apple’s Streaming Format for Internet TV Platform

Comcast, NBC Sports among first to deploy vendor’s ‘Primetime’ system

Adobe Systems is using Apple’s streaming-media protocol as the de facto standard in its Primetime video-publishing system — putting its own technology on the back burner — in acknowledgement of Apple clout in tablets and smartphones.

The soup-to-nuts Adobe Primetime system provides a single publishing workflow with one video format, the Apple-developed HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), and one digital rights management system. Apple provides open interfaces to HLS, which it uses to stream video to iPads, iPhones and Apple TV set-tops.

By incorporating HLS into Adobe Flash Player for desktops, the company said, TV programmers and distributors will be able to reach more devices using one consistent player. Primetime also will also continue to support Adobe’s HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS).

“For us, it’s not about religion. It’s about simplifying the complexity of getting TV to devices,” said Ashley Still, director of product management for video solutions at Adobe. “I don’t think our customers do well when people have religion about certain things.”

Support for Apple’s HLS will be available in the next version of the Flash Player, skedded for release in summer 2013.

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Adobe also plans to add support for the MPEG-DASH streaming standard  into Flash Player later in 2013 along with support for HTML5 mobile browsers (Safari and Chrome), Roku set-tops, Microsoft Xbox, and connected TVs, Still said.

Comcast Cable and NBC Sports Group are among first Adobe Primetime launch partners.

Comcast is using several Adobe Primetime components, including the player, DRM, ad insertion, ad serving and analytics in various configurations across certain Xfinity Internet properties to deliver video. Adobe Primetime is a “programmable video solution that supports our multiplatform roadmap,” said Sree Kotay, Comcast Cable senior VP and chief software architect.

NBC Sports uses the solution to offer live sporting events, including Major League Soccer (MLS) and National Hockey League (NHL) games, as well as Golf Channel content across devices.

Adobe, whose announcements are timed for the NAB show this week, also released a video-consumption report based on 19.6 billion video starts and 10.1 billion ads served by more than 50 customers (including NBC) in 2012.

Vendor’s Digital Index report found that TV Everywhere adoption increased 12-fold last year — from 18.3 million authenticated streams in 2011 to 222.5 million in 2012 — and mobile video viewing tripled to represent 10% of total digital video starts.

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