Adobe has decided to take on RealMedia, Apple and Microsoft with the launch of a new media player that it says enables distribution, viewing and monetization of video content on the web easily.

The new Adobe Media Player, announced at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) trade show will use the company's Flash architecture and offer content publishers new abilities to distribute, track and build businesses around their media assets.

Planned to be available as a free beta download from the Adobe website later this year with full availability expected by the end of the year the application promises innovation for both viewers and content owners according to Adobe.

The player is cross-platform, based on open standards - including RSS and SMIL - and brings viewers the highly desired ability to play the web’s most popular video format outside of their browser.

Adobe say the new player will provide an array of video delivery options for high-quality online and offline playback, including on-demand streaming, live streaming, progressive download, and protected download-and-play. The Adobe Media Player also enables a wider selection of monetisation and branding options including viewer-centric dynamic advertising and the ability to customise the look and feel of the player on the fly to match the brand or theme of the currently playing content.

The technology also provides content publishers a standardised toolbox to deploy a variety of advertising formats, and to compile permission-based analytics data, both online and offline, to better understand their audiences.