Can Flash Video take on QuickTime and Windows Media Player?

Opinion: Macromedia's ubiquitous technology has a bright future, but don't expect it to replace Windows Media Player, Real Player or QuickTime for streaming.

There is no doubt that if you are looking to create design-rich, immersive content on the Web, Macromedias Flash technology is the way to go.

The Flash player is by now installed on the vast majority of computers connected to the Internet.

Macromedia cites an astounding 98 percent market share for its player software, compared to 59 percent for Apples QuickTime and just over 50 percent for Windows Media Player.

Over the years, Flash has become the standard for creating rich interactive content on the Web.

Yet, when we wish to watch video content in our Web browsers, more often than not, what is proposed to us is a choice of player software such as Windows Media Player, Real Player or QuickTime.

While these players can be embedded in a Web page, their focus is mostly to do what they do best: stream video to the clients desktop at the highest possible quality and frame-rate.

Compared with these player technologies, Flash has a lot to offer: It is much easier to create an immersive experience where the video material is integrated into a complete environment, and not just a simple player window.

In other words, video becomes part of a complete communications project: It is not surprising that an increasing number of Web sites dedicated to upcoming movies are built using Flash.

And Flash has another considerable advantage in its transparent cross-platform support and support for a great variety of browsers.

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