Flash Charges into the Living Room

Adobe (s ADBE) is making a major push to bring its Flash platform to the living room, announcing a version of Flash that’s optimized for televisions, set-top boxes and Blu-ray players at the NAB Show in Las Vegas on Monday.

flash-lite-for-digital-home-screenshotsFlash is already installed on almost every PC, and it’s building a mobile footprint as well (though many handsets are still Flash-less, including iPhones). Making that same platform work in the living room should provide a big boost for web video distribution and web applications on TVs.

Hardware and chip partners for the project include Broadcom (s BRCM), Intel (s INTC), NXP Semiconductors, Sigma Designs (s SIGM) and STMicroelectronics (s STM). Others partners are Comcast (s CMCSA), Disney Interactive (s DIS), Netflix (s NFLX), New York Times Co. (s NYT) and Atlantic Records.

adobetvAdobe’s open framework will support applications already built in Flash, which could give it an advantage over earlier efforts from Yahoo and Intel to bring widgets to TVs on a Yahoo-driven platform. The move to TVs could also help Adobe better fend off encroachments from Microsoft (s MSFT) Silverlight, which has been looking good on a feature-for-feature basis.

Adobe said it expects the first available products with the new Flash runtime will likely be televisions shipped later this year.

As TVs get more processing power, they may just wind up at the center of the living room of the future. Imagine that!

Other announcements from Adobe at NAB include:

  • Strategic partnership with Brightcove, including joint customer acquisition efforts
  • Unveiling of Adobe’s new open industry media player standard work, code-named Strobe
  • Preview of Adobe Story, a collaborative online screenwriting tool
  • Update to Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 that includes better compatibility with content from RED cameras