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Liberate, Macromedia Aim for Set-Top Market

In a move to make creating dynamic content for interactive television more feasible for developers, Liberate Technologies will integrate Macromedia's Web authoring solutions, Dreamweaver and Flash, into its interactive TV software platform.

Using Dreamweaver and Flash, developers will be able to create dynamic content that will enable TV-Web integration, with interactions such as "TV-like" interactive interfaces, rich-media advertisements, and online games.

Announced as part of Liberate's (LBRT) PopTV Program developer center, the integration of these products will enable developers to provide content for the convergence of television with the Web. Liberate will create extensions to Dreamweaver to enable developers to produce content for display on broadcast video televisions. It will also seamlessly integrate Flash Player technology into all of its products for the cable, telco and ISP markets.

According to an October survey conducted by NPD Research, the parent company of MediaMetrix, 88.3 percent of Web users can view Flash content without having to download and install a player. Flash technology enables high-impact, vector-based Web sites that deliver motion, sound, interactivity, and graphics.

Integration of Flash content in a television-based media will enable developers to produce content with the same production value and effects that consumers are accustomed to seeing on TV, with the immediate playback option of many Web sites that already incorporate Flash.

According to a statement issued by Macromedia (MACR), Flash is a natural fit for interactive set-top boxes: Its graphics are compact and fast-loading, but are also resolution independent so they can scale with no quality loss to any size TV.

Liberate, formerly known as Network Computer Inc., is an emerging player in the set-top box space. It competes against such companies as WebTV and OpenTV, and its customers and partners include America Online, Cable and Wireless, Cannon, Cox Communications, Comcast, Cisco Systems, RealNetworks, Sun Microsystems and U.S. West.