Much has been made of Adobe’s recent announcement that it is halting development of the mobile and TV versions of Flash, but it’s worth looking a bit closer to see what this really means for the TV market.
While some pay-TV operators have used Flash, they have been in the minority. HTML, Java and native solutions have been the most common approaches to UI development. Most Flash content on the web is not suited to TV displays or TV remote controls, and so Flash has often been a “tick list” feature in the TV market rather than a must-have. This becomes especially obvious when you start asking the question “what revenue stream will cover the costs of licensing Flash?”
Many people have asked what this means for YouView: the answer is probably “not much”. What Adobe have actually stopped supporting is Flash Player for web browsing: the focus has shifted to AIR and to applications. This is the category the YouView user interface falls into, so is likely to be unaffected by the announcement.
This is probably a wise move by Adobe: it enables them to concentrate on their key products (AIR and development tools) while minimising the pain of supporting companies with porting Flash to new platforms and integrating with new browsers. As HTML 5 and related standards have become almost ubiquitous, the demand for Flash has decreased in the Web world. This announcement lets Adobe strengthen their position in the world of app stores and in the changing mobile market. Flash-based technologies will still be a force in the TV world for some time to come.
By Steve Morris