Adobe will soon be adding DRM capabilities directly to the Flash Player, a feature that was previously only available through Adobe AIR, Adobe's cross-platform desktop runtime. The new feature was announced at IBC in Amsterdam today.
This is a fairly significant addition to the Flash Platform. While I'm not a fan of DRM, I understand that some content owners are very keen to add (what they perceive as) protection to their assets, and Flash will soon be capable to tick that box. The technology works in a similar fashion to the way in which the Adobe Media Player used to handle content protection: a DRM server called Flash Access 2.0 - which was also announced at IBC and which is basically a renamed release of Adobe Flash Media Rights Management Server (I'm glad that I won't have to type that name again!) - will handle the signing and protection aspects, while Flash Player can soon deal with the decryption and content access mechanisms natively. As mentioned above, this was previously only an option if Adobe AIR was used to build the client. I guess these new features and the demise of Adobe Media Player shows that end users prefer to consume content right inside the browser, and are less keen to install and use yet another video player onto their desktop. Those who prefer to use AIR to deliver their content can still do so as the runtime will also support the content protection features which Flash Access 2.0 promises. Here's the full press release.
Adobe Flash Access 2.0 is planned for commercial availability in the first half of 2010.