Flash on Google TV: It's no longer just a "TV" experience

Flash on Google TV: It's no longer just a "TV" experience

Summary: As the line between traditional TV programming and online video continues to blur, Google and Adobe are jumping out ahead to showcase what's coming with Google TV


There was another sneak peek of Google TV this week but this time, it wasn't the search experience that was the star of the show.

At the Android Flash Summit at Adobe's headquarters in San Francisco, the company showcased the performance of the video playback on a prototype Google TV device. Even though the products aren't due for release until later this year, the company is getting a jump start on the message that Flash is up to the task of providing a good user experience - despite what Steve Jobs thinks.

In a post last week, I reminded readers that the TV itself has become just a screen on the wall. As Google TV and Adobe blur the line between TV broadcasts and online video segments, that becomes even more evident here.

At the event, Principal Product Manager Aditya Bansod of Adobe used a TV to showcase how Flash performed broadcasting live sporting events, as well as news video clips. He also demonstrated gaming and social networking tools - again, powered by Flash - as examples of what can be wrapped into the Google TV experience. He goes into more depth in the video below.

Clearly, it's not just TV anymore.

Jumping ahead of the game is probably a good idea for Adobe. The back-and-forth with Steve Jobs over his refusal to allow Flash on Apple products put Flash into the spotlight: the negative one. If the company needs to start putting all of that chatter behind it, this is one way to do that - spin it forward.

Speaking of Apple, if Google TV stays on track for release, it can get a nice jump start on whatever it is that Apple may have up its sleeve in the TV space. Piper Jaffrey analyst Gene Munster put out a report this week saying that Apple - which doesn't believe in set-top boxes - could offer an Internet-powered TV set, er, big-screen monitor, as early as 2012.

RelatedPondering an Apple entry to the TV market: Do you need live TV, sports?

But there are a few important things to remember: 1) This Google TV set-top is likely a stepping stone until the Internet-embedded screens/TVs themselves are ready for prime time, 2) the Apple experience will likely be closed, powered and populated by iTunes, and 3) Google TV will become another distribution platform for all content, whether on network or cable TV or the Internet - a move that positions it to be friends with the content providers.

In the past, Apple has had no problem nosing its way into established business categories. (Remember that the iPod was not the first mp3 player.) But it has also struggled over the years when it comes to negotiating with music labels or Hollywood studios. Will it have the clout to come in and call the shots under its terms while there's a strong competitor with a head start?

Topics: Software Development, Apple, Google, Hardware, Mobility

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  • what a load of bs.

    do these people never learn? what is this? the monumental flop of webTV in the 90s all over again?

    can anybody really read the tiny text on that screen from 3 meters away? how do you navigate the website? a mouse on your belly? do you need a keyboard in your lap for text input?

    adobe is really bound to be irrelevant in a few years. and if they really waste resources on projects like these then it is for a reason.

    and sam, no apple didn't have problems nosing its way into established business categories. they took the mp3-player, music, smartphone and tablet market by storm within a few months. you call that problems?
    banned from zdnet
    • Poor banned, his Apple masters haven't educated him

      @banned from zdnet
      [i]how do you navigate the website? a mouse on your belly? do you need a keyboard in your lap for text input?[/i]

      Logitech makes a great device called a DiNovo Mini:

      Combination keyboard and trackpad. While I wouldn't use it to type a novel, it works really well to control an HTPC.
      • is this a joke?

        you gotta be kidding me. do you really think anyone will have this monstrosity on his coffee table to navigate his TV?

        banned from zdnet
      • Monstronsity?

        LOL! Did you even look at the dimensions? It is a fraction of the size of an iPad (about 1/4 the size) yet according to the Apple zealots, the iPad is the perfect size for surfing in the living room.

        LOL!! Thanks for the laugh banned! :)
    • RE: Flash on Google TV: It's no longer just a

      Actually something like the in-air Loop pointer makes this comfortable from the couch.
    • RE: Flash on Google TV: It's no longer just a

      @banned from zdnet
      I've used a keyboard and mouse to control my 52" monitor across the room for a long time. The writing isn't too small, you have options to make things bigger (go look at your accessibility options).

      You're nerd raging a little bit, here.
  • RE: Flash on Google TV: It's no longer just a

    Sounds like a great step forward!
    I am one who is looking forward to seeing what this can do.

    Currently I frequently will output items from the web onto my HD wall unit from my Dell (via HDMI) and control via a wireless mouse from my comfy chair... It;s great to do doc reviews while watching racing or other events.

    and "@[i]banned from zdnet[/i]", I don't have a problem with the text - a 40" HD wall screen does great from across my family room...

    As for Apple TV, if it comes via iTunes, not only no but heck no friggin way NO!
    • across the room

      @zenwalker <br>then you have eyes like an eagle and with having a mouse on your coffee table the true nerd spirit, too. congrats.
      banned from zdnet
      • RE: Flash on Google TV: It's no longer just a

        @banned from zdnet

        I have a 40 inch Sony Bravia as my main monitor and I sit about 2 meters away from it and I do all my computing work just fine with 1920X1080 resolution.
  • adobe google? the worst of both worlds? so i can get pwnd while my

    personal data is being collected for resale? no thanks. only an idiot would buy or even take for free a solution that included anything from either of these companies...
    Johnny Vegas
  • So...why do we need Flash to do this?

    Flash is becoming more and more irrelevant for watching video because of HTML 5.

    Also surfing is not a great experience on a large screen TV, but I do think internet content can be successfully reformatted for TV viewing. If you get a chance to have a look at the way Apple TV accesses YouTube content, it is very TV friendly, meaning it doesn't have any of the "litter" we find in webpages.

    Watching cinema is a very focused linear activity and web surfing is not.
    • RE: Flash on Google TV: It's no longer just a

      @CowLauncher I would say that Flash becomes more relevant on tv, as the networks and studios want to protect their movies and tv shows and so they will use a solution like Flash that will protect the stream. There's no content protection for HTML5 video right now and with the way that browsers disagree on codecs, I doubt they will ever see eye to eye on DRM.

      Also for live events, Flash Player 10.1 has peer-to-peer video, hugely reducing server costs to host large video events. Nothing like that is even in the discussion phase for HTML5 video.

      The main reason why this is a big deal, is that there's already lots of Flash video content out there for people to watch for free (minus bandwidth costs), rather than having to buy content from iTunes via AppleTV.
  • RE: Flash on Google TV: It's no longer just a

    It's not about surfing text pages from your couch. It's about an end-run around cable companies, so you buy just the content you want, and not an overpriced bundle from the cable extortionists.
  • Why would Google use Flash?

    Google has been about open source, why use a proprietary product in Google TV?
  • There have to be a better way...

    Adobe for their own self interest will continue to insist that all our media/entertainment <b>must</b> run in a plug-in via a web browser. Weather that's on phones or now TV's with Google TV. I find it lazy and backwords. Just because there's a wealth of entertainment on the web does not mean I want to access it the same way as I do with my computer. Squinting to see text. I don't want to have a keyboard in my lap on the couch, or a mouse on the coffee table (or buy some expensive Logitech doodad) just to access the web content, in a web browser, from across the room. <br><br>Think it may take Apple to think this through for the rest of us once again.
    • Apple has thought this through

      [i]Think it may take Apple to think this through for the rest of us once again.[/i]

      They released AppleTV, a product so bad that Apple refuses to release sales figures for it and openly calls it a "hobby" because it has failed so pathetically in the marketplace.
    • RE: Flash on Google TV: It's no longer just a

      I've had a keyboard and mouse to control my computer-connected 52" LCD TV for years. Works great.

      Did you know there are options to blow up the size of everything on your computer? All Windows versions have this available. No squinting required.
  • Google TV gets better, Apple TV sits there

    Like it or not, Adobe's Flash filled a void when there wasn't an HTML standard that could offer all that it does. For those of you thinking that HTML5 will be the answer, it eventually will be, but it's a long way off.

    Another thing that's years away is reliable bandwidth that can deliver Blu-ray quality via streaming.

    Personally, I'll can't wait for Google TV. It remains to be seen what Apple will eventually do, but it won't be a slam dunk for them as some may suggest.
  • I just realized one thing. :)

    There use to be many fractions on ZDnet (MS \Linux\Apple\Google etc.)

    However, recently this board has become only two, which are Apple vs MS,Google,Adobe,Linux,Nintendo,Nokia, RIM,etc (aka. the rest of the industry).
  • RE: Flash on Google TV: It's no longer just a

    There use to be many fractions on ZDnet (MS fans\Linux fans\Apple fans\Google fans etc.)

    However, recently the number is down to just two sides, which are Apple fans vs "MS,Google,Adobe,Linux,Nintendo,Nokia, RIM,etc's fans (aka. the rest of the industry)".