The UK digital signage vendor, ONELAN, has launched a new version of its embedded linux Net-Top-Box - one that supports Adobe Flash 9.
The 3300/5 V.6 Net-Top-Box has added processing power to drive the Adobe animation software, but retains the stable Linux core. The box connects to the OneLan web based media distribution and content management system - and has the ability to show store-forward video, online data feeds, live video and TV signals across multiple windows on a plasma or LCD screen.
Arguments about the suitability of creating digital signage content in flash, rather than in 3D animation software or in video, have been a mainstay of the industry for many years. However if you dig a little behind the argument, you will find the idea that 'flash is for the internet and video is for signage' has actually tended to come from hardware suppliers, and not the content companies. This is because the use of Adobe's Flash software has been where the Linux and embedded decoder digital signage players have traditionally run aground against PCs.
Whatever you may think of the results from working with flash; it is extremely flexible, it creates very small files that can be easily distributed across networks, and there are a lot of well trained creatives out there who know how to use it
If you are using a windows based platform, Adobe flash licensing is no big deal - but in the Linux world each (legitmate) system has to be verified and tested by Adobe representatives, and a reasonably large sum of money handed over. Whilst in the embedded chip market, Adobe has appeared to be very reluctant to license the software at all.
The beauty of products like the Net-Top-Box is that they now offer a fully certified Linux alternative - hopefully a step towards putting the content format arguments back in the hands of the creatives.
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