Adobe Systems’ Air, which is a spinoff of its Flash software but built for rapid development and minimal footprint, got a big boost this week as both TiVo and LG Electronics committed to using the technology in their next-generation smart TV devices coming in 2012. With Samsung Electronics already on board as well, Air will be used to create unique interfaces as well as interactive games on TVs and mobile devices.
While Adobe’s Flash Player is on version 11 and Air is currently on version 3, Air has had great momentum as an alternative and complement to Flash. Both feature accelerated graphics harnessing the latest GPUs, and both can work with the latest HD rendering, from streaming to 2D and 3D. Air specifically has robust audio support, with Dolby Digital as well as DTS 7.1.
Adobe’s goal is to begin to construct the next generation of entertainment, games and interfaces. Getting Air onto the major vendors’ TVs means that developers can now work on the next generation of content. Currently, items like HD games require a separate console, such as an XBox 360 or PS3. Air is positioned to provide the next generation of games, with console-quality graphics. But, instead of having to purchase a separate box, it will all come packed into your existing television. Two companies are already getting a jump-start. VH1 has developed an “I Love the 80’s” trivia game created in Air, and Epix has created a video player to stream content from Paramount Pictures, MGM and Lionsgate.
The explosion of apps has consumers looking for easy to use programs, and they would like it on all their devices. Adobe sees Air as a new programming language designed primarily for portable TV, set-top boxes and HDTVs. From the interface screen to a variety of games to the movie players themselves, Adobe is hoping more developers line up, along with more TV manufacturers, so that Air can become a vibrant standard to bring even more entertainment options to the masses.