Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch
At the NewTeeVee Live conference in San Francisco, Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch talks about how the company's Flash software is coming to new devices such as game consoles, smartphones, and TVs. Lynch says Adobe is working with chip vendors and TV manufacturers on a variety of different television platforms to bring more interactivity to the living room.
Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch
Sebastian Rupley: Video in the living room. Flash arriving on TVs and things like that. Where do we stand with that? I know there are some cool products coming out. People have alluded today to a VSIO TV that has Flash on it. There are a number of these products coming out. Tell us what to be excited about, and what it all means.
Kevin Lynch: Okay, well, the real exciting transition that's happening is that Flash is coming to a bunch of different devices, non-personal computer devices. Smartphones as well as televisions and other devices in the digital living room. Set-top boxes, game consoles in the living room, devices. But one of the exciting things is televisions themselves are becoming IP-enabled, so you have embedded processor inside the TV as well as network connectivity. And we're working with both the system on chip vendors, as well as some of the TV manufacturers, to enable Flash for a variety of different television platforms.
And those are coming out starting this coming year. So we'll start seeing a first wave of those. And that's about delivering not only a consistent video experience across devices, so as you're streaming video in Flash, you can reach all of these different screens. But also this kind of future of interactivity on the television and experimentation with that, and what does it means to not only just kind of passively watch the video, but start interacting? And we're seeing that on PCs today. That, I think, is going to start coming into the living room as well.
Sebastian Rupley: So if I think of a processor in my TV, and I think of Flash on there, I have to extrapolate out to software layers and things like widgets and applications that might be there, the basic infrastructure of what you'd find on a computer. Are we going to see that kind of software ecosystem arrive?
Kevin Lynch: Well, I think it's going to be specific to each different kind of device type. You wouldn't want to have the same kind of finder experience, you know, and that you would on your PC on your television. But I think that the concept of viewing content from the internet will be on the television. And interacting with little applications will be part of the TV experience as well, whether those are widgets or other forms of expression. But the idea of having kind of icons and apps on your television I think is something that we'll start seeing more of. But it can't be at the same level of kind of complexity that we're seeing on personal computing.
Sebastian Rupley: Right, so you're not going to have your Internet Explorer tree. But you might have a widget that stores your one-click ways to get to your favorite shows and things like that.
Kevin Lynch: Exactly. And be able to watch or interact with the same content across multiple screens is what we're working on. So if you're creating even a game, for example, like a Sudoku game, you might want to play that on your cell phone when you're walking around. It was built in Flash. It can run on Smartphone next year. And also you can continue that game on your personal computer. So our goal is to make it so that those applications can run not only on devices, but you can also drag that application to your computer and continue running that same applications, and place that same application on your television set. So if you're playing this game, you could even have continuity, not only with the same app, but the same game you're playing.
Sebastian Rupley: Right.
Kevin Lynch: So you stop playing it on your cell phone, you resume on your PC, and then you get home, and there's a commercial and you want to pull it up again to play a little more, you can. And the idea is to not only enable these experiences to run consistently, but have them be an integrated experience across these different screens.
Sebastian Rupley: Okay, so this is really some of what we were hearing years ago would happen that took so long to happen. It's really convergence between the television and the computer.
Kevin Lynch: Right, right. It's really about getting network connectivity to perform fast enough to deliver these rich experiences to the screens, and getting processing power to get to the point where you can actually run code on the different devices and have it perform well enough. And we're just getting there now with televisions.
Sebastian Rupley: Okay, so you have some pretty major overhauls on Flash coming up. And Flash, of course, is number one out there in the video world. I think the figures, Adobe quotes, are 80 to 90% of all video watched online is Flash.
Kevin Lynch: Yeah.
Sebastian Rupley: I go back to the days when Flash was kind of like a plug-in, and Netscape like Shockwave was, and they had very small audiences out there. And it was a big thing if you could get your plug-in in the browser and all that. Look at it now.
Kevin Lynch: Right.
Sebastian Rupley: So what are you going to deliver with the next version of Flash? And will we see things like improvements in video quality?
Kevin Lynch: Yeah, absolutely. So already, we have HD quality inside Flash Player. We introduced that in an update to Flash Player 9 last year. And we also supported H.264, which is a great video format, and it's widely adopted. And there's good hardware acceleration for that. So what we're working on now is Flash Player 10.1. And that is aiming at getting Flash to work consistently across devices. So we're updating on the personal computer too. But the big focus is on Smartphones and digital living room.
And so that means taking advantage of GPUs, graphical processing units, across these different devices, supporting the different input mechanisms on these devices, whether it's touchscreens or remote controls or other ways of getting input in, doing that consistently across different operating systems. As well as for video, supporting streaming video over HTTP if you want to do that, something that we're introducing in Flash Player 10.1, as well as a P to P support. So if you want to take advantage of other distribution models to more efficiently get your video out, you can do that as well.
Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch
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