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

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
Written by Sam Diaz, Inactive

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?

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