Adobe has an agenda with their new media player. One objective is to get Flash technology off the web page and on to the desktop. Version 1.0 of Adobe Media Player takes that giant step forward with a couple of giant steps backwards. While pretending to be chic and hip, AMP actually is flat, black, clumsy, and chatty.
It’s not that there’s a shortage of media players for Mac users. We’re not exactly crippled by having Microsoft’s creaky old, crippled Windows Media Player (does that still work on Macs these days?)
QuickTime serves us well, and apparently serves Windows users quite well, too. It comes with every install of iTunes. Why does Adobe want to compete against Microsoft’s Windows Media Player and Apple’s QuickTime?
They don’t want to be left out in the cold. Adobe developed a cross-platform technology called AIR which aims to merge desktop and web application development. AMP rides on AIR and looks like a web page without the browser.
Black is Back
AMP is flat and floats on your Mac’s screen. It’s black so it competes with Apple’s newfound love for charcoal chic. AMP is also anemic, clumsy, and chatty (using Little Snitch, I checked and AMP connects to Adobe via the internet nearly a few dozen times before getting up and running).
Adobe’s Media Player also lets Mac users manage and view their own video content, right from their Macs. There are limits. AMP can play Flash movies and MPEG-4 movies encoded in H.264. Nothing more, nothing less.
Less is what you see first. AMP is sparse, like a dark black web page without the web browser (click the image for a closer view).
AMP may look a little boring and feature-less instead of feature-rich, but that appears to be by design. At least, what could get designed into a version 1.0 release.
AMP does one thing rather well. It streams video from the internet using Adobe’s new streaming media service.
The selection of movies to download or stream is thin, but should grow over time. In the meantime, AMP is loaded with a number of Channels which can be used to download movies.
Slick in Black
What is surprising, or, maybe not so surprising if you know about Flash video, is the video quality. Or, lack of. I didn’t get any stutters or hiccups while playing back a movie, but the video doesn’t appear as crisp as Apple’s QuickTime Player, even at full screen (click the image for a closer view).
Navigation around the black AMP window is straightforward but won’t win awards for excellence in design. Adobe is decidedly blah, and AMP reflects that culture.
Adobe may sense the need for another media player with built in digital rights management, the DRM, that is cross platform and available for media partners. Apple does not license the DRM used in the iTunes Store, keeping the whole process, end-to-end, an Apple affair.
With AIR and AMP, Adobe has created a cross platform framework and media delivery system that spans Windows PCs, Macs and Linux. What Mac users end up with is more choices. Choose to use another media player. Choose to use another source for media.