First Look: Adobe Media Player

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First Look: Adobe Media Player

 

Adobe Media Player is a great little application, but I’ll probably delete it from my computer as soon as I finish this review. In the ever-evolving world of online video, AMP doesn’t yet offer anything that’s sufficiently exciting enough to earn itself a permanent place on my hard drive.

 

Yes, AMP looks great, is easy to use, and performs wonderfully. But why have yet another video player on your hard drive if it doesn’t let you access cool stuff that you couldn’t get your grabby little hands on before? AMP currently offers some interesting arts and cultures shorts (most of which can be seen elsewhere), a selection of classic TV episodes (Hawaii Five-O, Star Trek and The Twilight Zone), an okay collection of vintage cartoons and other bits and pieces from Comedy Central, PBS and Nickleodeon. CBS provides the star content: episodes of “CSI Miami” and “CSI New York.”

 

 

So AMP may thrill forensics freaks, but when you compare its offerings to some of its competitors, AMP’s virtual shelves start looking pretty bare. Hulu -- a web-based viewer -- has a really excellent catalog of TV episodes and feature films from 50 content providers including FOX, NBC, MGM, Sony Pictures Television, Warner Bros. and Lionsgate. Open source player Miro has 4,000 channels to choose from, and while they aren’t all uniformly excellent -- some offer public access programming type fare -- there’s certainly no shortage of good things to watch.

 

Adobe is aggressively courting media partners and I hope they sign on soon, because AMP really is a spiffy piece of coding. Installation was flawless and fast -- a four minute process that only required clicking a few times to confirm the download and agreeing to install the Air platform as part of the package. Video playback, even at full-screen size, was excellent (Adobe says that the content can scale from 480i up to 1080p) with blessedly few breaks in the stream for buffering activity. AMP’s playback and video quality was somewhat better than Hulu’s occasionally less-than-smooth playback, and on par with Miro.

 

AMP gives you more playback options than Hulu (Miro’s open source code provides a larger range of possibilities for those who like to fiddle than either Hulu or Amp). I could play flash videos embedded in web sites in the AMP player, and some of the catalog’s content is available for downloading and offline viewing -- content owners choose what level of digital rights management they want to impose. You can also subscribe to your favorite shows, and set up AMP to download selected new content as it becomes available.

 

And you can add videos you’ve previously downloaded to your personal AMP catalog for easy access. But, since AMP is flash-based it can only access video formats that are supported by Flash -- FLV, MP4, or QuickTime format, which is a definite limitation.

 

AMP’s biggest strength at the moment may be as a showcase for the potentials of Adobe Air, a development platform that allows coders to use web application technology to create cross-platform desktop applications, and port web apps to the desktop. But if the content on offer catches up to the capabilities of the application, AMP will be a real contender for best video player.

 

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Michael Dunlop

WOW! that app is awesome! (except for the fact that none of the videos will play cuz I'm at college with a very strict proxy) The interface is so smooth; I wouldn't have expected.

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Anonymous

Where does it store the video? Spotlight does not find it, Easy Find does not find it, hard drives may be "huge" these days but where the heck does it put this stuff and how in the world does it hide the titles from search applications?

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Anonymous

They are in ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe Media Player/Local Store/Cache

You will find them if you search for .mp4, .m4v and .flv files in there. But they are mixed up with a whole lot of other stuff and given impenetrable filenames like "dcb9a8bc95ad36d6bc7247a1ad62c04a.m4v".

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