Late last month, CNET Networks quietly released a superb new Flash video player.  The player is beginning to propagate CNET’s news videos.  It was developed in house.  Here’s what I think is notable:

*The player has a pop-up window for a text description along with hyperlinks to related stories. This is extremely valuable as videos don’t always present the entire story and the text can provide crucial context.  Plus the text can be updated, so when an archival video becomes timely, the data can be updated.  Very cool.

*There is a closed caption functionality. CNET is committed to transcribing all its video — a great benefit for the hearing impaired and for others at work who can’t listen. Presumably all the metadata will maximize search. 

*A download button allows users to save a file into iTunes.  This makes saving a specific segment simpler than having to subscribe to an iTunes feed and download all the episodes. (Google Video has this functionality but not on the player — it’s on the page where the video is located.)

*The new player has a pop up for related videos.  This utility appears on the embedded player as well. So, viewers of the embed player, who choose a related video, are taken back to CNET.  I guess you could call it a "widget" within a video player.  (YouTube has pioneered this "related video" utility, but CNET does a nice job here.)

*The player is embeddable, meaning the code from CNET videos can be
placed on blogs.  This is not new for the industry. The Wall
Street Journal was the first major publisher to provide an embeddable
player over a year ago, which was reported first on Beet.TV.  Nonetheless, for tech bloggers to be able to
publish CNET video is valuable. (The pre-roll ads that appear on CNET videos on site, but not on the embed player, also a common industry practice.)

*….and hit the full screen option. Nice.

Since I couldn’t get to San Francisco to report this story, I am grateful to our friends at CNET who shot this interview with CNET TV chief Mark Larkin yesterday and shipped us the file.  Amazing shoot! Much obliged. Our own David Kavanaugh edited the piece.

Mark gives a great overview of CNET TV and a demonstration of the new player. You can see the new player  below.

— Andy Plesser

Disclosure:  CNET Networks is a client of Plesser Holland public relations.

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