Adobe announced that it's extending its popular Flash platform, which is primarily used to deliver digital video over the web to the living room via TV sets, Blu-ray players, and other set-top boxes. The company has signed agreements with a wide variety of consumer electronics companies, many of which will ship Flash-based products in the first half of 2009.

"Adobe Flash Platform for the Digital Home will dramatically change the way we view content on televisions," says Adobe Vice President David Wadhwani. "Consumers are looking to access their favorite Flash technology-based videos, applications, services, and other rich web content across screens. We are looking forward to working with partners to create these new experiences and deliver content consistently across devices whether consumers view it on their desktop, mobile phone, or television."

Notably, the Flash Platform for the Digital Home supports HD quality video as well as rich, connected hybrid applications, without requiring a web browser. According to Adobe, customers utilizing products based on this technology will be able to seamlessly switch between HD video content delivered via traditional TV signals and the web.

Companies such as Comcast, Disney, Netflix, and the New York Times Company have announced support for Adobe Flash Platform for the Digital Home. Flash is currently in use on an estimated 98 percent of all PCs, making it the most broadly used third-party PC software ever made. Adobe says that Flash is also installed on about 40 percent of the cellphones that shipped last year.

Adobe's only real competitor in this space is Microsoft, which is currently developing the third major version of its Silverlight platform. Silverlight is used by BBC, Netflix, and other companies, and was used to stream NBC's Olympics coverage last summer. Silverlight is currently installed on more than 300 million computers, according to Microsoft, but significantly trails Flash in market penetration and usage