Author Archive: Tom Nguyen

Update: Premium Features for Flash Player

Update – August 16, 2012: The premium features licensing website is now available.
Learn more about the premium XC APIs.

We previously communicated that beginning August 1, new content using the Premium Features for Flash Player would require a commercial license from Adobe, and that we would share more details on how to obtain a license. We will be extending this deadline to give publishers more time to prepare and obtain a license. These Premium Features are designed primarily to enable publishers and commercial game developers to target the Flash Player with games developed using C/C++ (via the Project “Alchemy” compiler) and/or 3rd party tools such as Unity.

We expect to make available a website where you can obtain a license by the end of August, which will be available at adobe.com/go/fpl. And we are extending the free use of the Premium Features for new content publicly released prior to the availability of the licensing website. To obtain a license for grandfathered content that is released prior to the availability of the licensing website, please contact us directly at fpl@adobe.com.

To provide publishers with enough time to obtain a license to take advantage of Premium Features, Flash Player will not begin enforcing the license requirements for Premium Features until at least 8 weeks after the availability of the licensing website. Once Flash Player begins enforcing the Premium Features license requirement, unlicensed content requesting use of the Premium Features will continue to run, and will automatically use software rendering (for more information, please review the release notes for the beta release of Flash Player 11.4).

Game on: The new Adobe AIR 3.2 + Flash Player 11.2

Launching AIR 3.2, Flash Player 11.2, and
Premium Features for Gaming

Wonderputt

Wonderputt, Independent Games Festival 2012 Finalist / Flash Player

Exactly 60 years ago, the first graphical digital video game — tic-tac-toe — was played on one of the world’s earliest computers, the EDSAC. It was a breakthrough, but it wasn’t played: only a handful of people could play because there was only one box like EDSAC in the entire world.

Today, Flash Player powers popular social and casual games on the web that are each played by hundreds of millions of people and generate billions in revenue each year. It powers 9 in 10 of the top games on Facebook, many of the most popular web games in China and Japan, and inspired and acclaimed indie gamesFlash Player is the game console for the web — the only technology that ensures a beautiful game can run consistently — without friction or fragmentation — on over a billion boxes around the world.

Gaming has come a long way. And today we’re taking two leaps forward:

Lume, Independent Games Festival 2012 Finalist / AIR

First, we’re launching Adobe AIR 3.2 with Stage3D hardware accelerated rendering for iOS and Android platforms, which allows you craft cinematic, stunning games for 500 million mobile devices and over 1 billion computers with one codebase that lets you leverage native capabilities and blazing fast, native GPU performance.

Second, we’re launching Flash Player 11.2 with premium features for gaming. These allow AAA game developers to publish premiere console-quality, next-generation games with frictionless reach to the most people – an audience 11 times larger than that of the best-selling hardware game console. These capabilities also allow us to support a broad ecosystem of popular game middleware and development tools.

Plays well. Plays everywhere. AIR 3.2

Mobile games are fun — and they make up over half of the most popular apps in app stores for iOS, Android phones and tablets, Kindle Fire, and Nook tablet. But developing them hasn’t been. It’s meant fighting fragmented mobile platforms, settling for lowest-common denominator experiences, and choosing between missing out on the growth of mobile apps or missing out on the growth of web games because nothing does both well. That game is over.

Spaced Away for iPad / AIR 3.2 + Stage3D

Adobe AIR 3.2 is a milestone release that brings the most advanced Flash technology to iPhone/iPad (iOS) and Android phones and tablets. AIR 3.2 introduces Stage3D graphics technology for iOS and Android, enabling efficient, 1000x faster native GPU rendering performance in your pocket.

Use the same code and Stage3D APIs as you can use to build desktop browser games with Flash Player. Create tailored, optimized experiences with native support for mobile capabilities like multitouch, camera/mic, and accelerometers. Add support for anything from NFC to in-app payments to iOS Game Center with native extensions.

Build a Flash-based game that runs beautifully across iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac faster than you could build one Android application that might work on different versions of Android. Enjoy the best of all worlds with AIR 3.2, so you can spend your time and energy on crafting even better game worlds.

State-of-the-art is the state of the web: Flash Player 11.2

Angry Birds: One of the fastest growing games on Facebook is built with Stage3D

Angry Birds on Facebook, Rovio / Flash Player 11 + Stage3D

Six months ago, Flash Player 11 introduced Stage3D on the desktop. It now brings breathtaking, cinematic 2D and 3D graphics to more people than any other web technology whether they’re using Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Safari.

Today, Flash Player 11 is installed on over 80% of connected computers, and Stage3D powers wildly popular games like Angry Birds for Facebook. It’s played by nearly 20 million active users after just six weeks, one of the fastest growing games on the web.

Flash Player 11.2, released today, adds key core features for gaming, including mouse lock, relative coordinates, and right and middle -click support. Combined with Stage3D, you can now build fully immersive games in the browser, whether a first-person shooter or a real-time strategy game using infinite map scrolling. It also extends hardware driver support back to 2008, enabling full hardware acceleration on more computers than ever.

To make life on the web easier and safer, Flash Player 11.2 adds automatic background updates for Windows, so that hundreds of millions of people can benefit from having most advanced capabilities and security updates in new versions of Flash Player, hassle free. And we’ll continue to provide update notifications for major new releases to highlight advanced new capabilities. Finally, this release includes a new multithreaded video decoding architecture, enabling even more seamless, smooth playback of full HD video.

Level Up: Premium Features for Gaming

In addition to new core features in Flash Player 11.2, we announced a new tier of Flash Player premium features for gaming. These premium features will allow console developers to deliver unprecedented, AAA console quality games to over a billion computers – enabling a whole new class of social gaming experiences — and allow us to support a third party ecosystem of gaming middleware, bringing together best-in-class specialized game development tools with the unmatched reach and richness of Flash Player.

This premium features tier will allow you to publish premiere console quality titles by taking advantage of two features in combination:

  • Stage3D hardware acceleration (Stage3D.request3DContext)
  • Domain memory (ApplicationDomain.domainMemory)

Domain memory helps advanced compilers such as the upcoming new Adobe compiler code-named “Alchemy” enable high-performance, sandboxed execution of cross-compiled C/C++ code in Flash Player. If you’re an ActionScript developer, take advantage of hundreds of millions of lines of existing optimized C/C++ code libraries in your games. If you’re a C/C++ game developer, easily bring your entire native game or game engine to the Flash Platform so that a billion people can play what you’ve made directly in their favorite browser. Starting today, you can apply to join the new Alchemy prerelease program.

Flash Player Premium Features for Gaming

Using premium features – Stage3D hardware acceleration in combination with domain memory – allows AAA console-quality game engines to run across browsers with high performance in Flash Player and use specialized game tools to build games for Flash Player. For example, Unity customers will be able to license premium features to publish web-based 3D games with the reach and power of Flash Player and Stage3D.

With today’s release of Flash Player 11.2, we are making premium features available free of charge for content published prior to August 1. Starting August 1, these features will be available for published content with a license, and there will be no charge for the first $50K in application revenues. The use of premium features within Adobe AIR, including for mobile applications for iOS and Android, will be royalty free.

APEXvj for iOS and Android / AIR 3.2 + Stage3D

We’ve designed this pricing to encourage the creative experimentation that sparks great ideas and great games. This also allows us to invest in and support innovation in Flash technologies that benefit an ecosystem of game middleware and development tools, beyond Adobe’s own first party tools. You can learn more about premium features by visiting adobe.com/go/fpl.

We expect many amazing games won’t need premium features. Games and applications using either Stage3D hardware acceleration or domain memory individually do NOT require a premium features license. For example, you can independently leverage Stage3D hardware acceleration in Flash Player to bring your breathtaking, high-performance game to the most people on the web – at no charge. The rich core platform capabilities of Flash Player will continue to power remarkable games, and we’ll continue to innovate rapidly on our core platform.

You can install Flash Player 11.2 today to see the amazing content the community is creating and start your own development. You can also immediately publish apps to app stores using Adobe AIR 3.2, joining other gorgeous Stage3D –based iOS and Android apps that have already launched. We’re excited to see what you create. And we’re thrilled to help games continue to push the boundaries of imaginative, breathtaking play.

Visit gaming.adobe.com to see more of what’s possible when you can bring delightful, remarkable experiences to the most people on the planet.

Let’s play.

Tom Nguyen
Sr. Product Manager, Gaming / @tomng

Learn more about the launch of Flash Player Premium Features for Gaming and Adobe’s collaboration with Unity Technologies.

A Sweet Update: Flash Player 11.1 and AIR 3.1 for Android 4.0

We’re excited to announce the updated Flash Player 11.1 for Android devices, which will be followed by an AIR 3.1 update shipping next week. These introduce full support for Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), including the new Galaxy Nexus. These updates will be available on the Android Market.

AIR 3.1 brings immersive, beautiful apps powered by Flash to iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, BlackBerry PlayBook, Barnes and Noble Nook tablets, and the Amazon Kindle Fire (whew!). As a developer, you can use Flash to create brilliant interactive experiences, games, and video and seamlessly deliver them to over 1 billion people: in the browser on 99% of PCs and via app stores to over 350 million iOS, Android and BlackBerry smartphones and tablets.

As we’ve mentioned before, we’re focusing on enabling amazing Flash based experiences via apps on phones and tablets, and this release will be the last major version of the mobile browser plug-in. The most stunning, innovative content and games for mobile devices are delivered and consumed through apps. The most impactful, engaging experiences on the desktop are delivered through the browser. With Flash Player for desktop and AIR apps for mobile, Flash allows you to craft and deliver beautiful experiences for both.

Flash developers are taking us on adventures across breathtaking worlds in best-selling games like Machinarium, a Flash-enabled game that became the best-selling app across the iTunes App StoreBlackBerry App World, and Mac App Store.

We’ve seen kids (and kids at heart) find hidden treasure bringing their drawings to life in interactive books like Kidoodle Apps’ Pirate Scribblebeard’s Treasure for iPad and Android tablets.

And we’ve had delightful fun getting lost in helping a sheep find his way in Aardman Animations’ Home Sheep Home 2 for iPad.

You guys are crafting experiences that show how creative, fun, and amazing mobile apps can be. And we know you’re just getting started.

Tom Nguyen
Sr. Product Manager, Flash Runtime

Adobe Flash Player 11.1 and Adobe AIR 3.1 are Now Available!

As a follow-up to the highly anticipated release of Adobe Flash Player 11 and Adobe AIR 3, which included next-generation technologies like the gorgeous, cinematic 2D and 3D hardware accelerated graphics of Stage 3D, we’re pleased to announce the availability of Flash Player 11.1 and Adobe AIR 3.1 for desktops and mobile devices.

As we communicated yesterday, we see a very bright future for both Flash and HTML5. We’re committed to helping Flash developers deliver stunning, immersive experiences across devices — helping you reach over a billion people across desktop browsers and create Flash-based apps to reach over 350 million smartphones and tablets this year alone. It’s great to see the thousands of amazing Flash-based apps you’ve already published across all of the major app stores — for iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, the BlackBerry PlayBook, Barnes and Noble Nook tablets, and the Amazon Kindle Fire. Whether in the browser on 99% of PCs or through apps for phones and tablets, Flash bridges the gap between your incredible ideas and what over a billion people can experience.

We’re also excited about the new innovations like Stage 3D hardware acceleration. Only a month after its launch, it now enables beautiful, fluid, next-generation visuals for more people on the web than any other technology. And we’ll continue driving innovation in Flash and by contributing to web standards. Now that we are focusing on enabling Flash-based content via apps on mobile devices, this release will be the last version of the browser plug-in for mobile devices. We’ll continue to provide bug fixes and security updates for the mobile browser plug-in — and we’ll deliver new Flash innovations for smartphones and tablets via AIR, allowing you to take full advantage of Flash on iOS, Android, and BlackBerry PlayBook devices.

This minor update to Flash Player and AIR includes the following features for developers:

  • Updated iOS 5 native extensions for Adobe AIR: Flash-based apps can now take advantage of new services provided by iOS 5. Create apps that integrate the latest iOS 5 capabilities like iCloud and iMessage.
  • Updated Native text input UI for Android:  Android apps can now take advantage of the same native text input controls provided to BlackBerry Tablet OS and iOS operating systems to provide platform-specific user interaction behaviors such as magnification and text selection.

Engaging experiences. Everywhere.

Man your battle stations! Check out Age of Defenders, a new Flash-based, multiplayer tower defense game that reaches Android tablets, iPad, and desktops. Packaged with Adobe AIR and built with Adobe Flash Builder and Flash Professional, it benefits from a common Flash code base to provide real-time gameplay with your friends and immersive, optimized experiences across over a billion PCs and tablets.

To learn more about how the game was created, take a look at Adobe gaming evangelist Tom Krcha’s interview with the developer.

We’re working on an ambitious future for Flash, with a lot of great things in store for the community. But in addition to the big advances, we’re also thinking about the small game changers: Here is a sneak peak of a highly requested feature in early stage development for game developers – mouse lock, which will allow you to create immersive, panoramic games never before possible across most of the web. If you would like to provide feedback on other upcoming Flash Player and AIR features, we invite you to apply to participate in the Flash Runtimes private pre-release program.

Learn more

To learn more about developing Flash-based apps for iOS, Android, or BlackBerry PlayBook devices, check out the following resources:

And we’ll continue to provide the best tools for getting your creative, stunning ideas everywhere. We’re building foundations for your awesome experiences.

Tom Nguyen
Sr. Product Manager, Flash Runtime

Adobe Flash Player 11 & AIR 3 Have Launched!

Adobe MAX is here, and we’ve got a lot of news to share. Today we’re releasing Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 — you can download the release starting at 9:00 PM Pacific today. As we announced previously, there are lots of new features in Flash Player 11 and AIR 3, and one of the newest features that’s getting a lot of buzz is hardware accelerated 2D and 3D graphics rendering through Stage 3D, which will be available on Mac OS, Windows and connected televisions. It redefines what’s possible across the web. With up to 1,000 times faster rendering performance over Flash Player 10 and AIR 2, developers can animate millions of objects with smooth 60 frames per second rendering and deliver cinematic, console-quality games both in browsers and in apps. And a production release with support for Stage 3D for mobile platforms including Android, Apple iOS and BlackBerry Tablet OS is expected in an upcoming release. For more information about Stage 3D and to see some sample apps, check out the Stage 3D games on the Adobe Developer Center.

Additionally, we’re excited that “Proscenium,” a 3D framework technology preview, is available on Adobe Labs. Proscenium will allow developers using Flash Builder to rapidly prototype experiences focused on simple content interaction and display, whether for simple games, visualization, or high-quality rendering of small object collections. Check it out and let us know what you think.

We previously announced the availability of the Starling 2D framework for stunning hardware accelerated, fluid 2D graphics, and you can check out a new game developed using the Starling framework, Whack! from BxyB. There’s also new information for available for developing using 3D frameworks like Alternativa3D, Away3D, Flare3D, Mixamo, and Minko.

And lastly, we want to extend a welcome to our newest developers and colleagues from Nitobi, makers of PhoneGap, which will soon become part of the Adobe family. With all of our announcements today, we believe developers will benefit from a workflow that allows them to choose the right tool for the right job, and we’ll continue to keep driving innovation in Flash so you can push the edge of the envelope for immersive experiences online.

We’ve already seen some early previews of games and apps that will be available in market soon, and there are now over 10,000 AIR apps in mobile markets.

We can’t wait to see what you’ll create. And there’s more news to come tomorrow, so stay tuned. You can watch the second day MAX keynote streamed live at 10am PDT, and be sure to check out the Flash Platform Blog for the latest updates.

Tom Nguyen
Sr. Product Manager, Flash Player & AIR / @tomng

Updates from the Lab

Customer feedback helps us evolve Flash so that we can help developers and designers push what’s possible for over a billion people on the web. Adobe Labs is an invaluable channel for us to engage with our community, and it’s where we share some of our early investigations, showcasing unsupported previews of experimental technologies. Some of these previews go on to become fully supported features or products, and others are phased out after we’ve had the opportunity to learn from them, allowing us to prioritize new product innovations.

In advance of releasing the next-generation Flash runtimes, Flash Player 11 and AIR 3, we want to share that we will soon be winding down our Labs preview of “Alchemy.”

We released Alchemy on Labs over two years ago as an experimental prototype that allowed developers to leverage C/C++ code in Flash Player and AIR. We have not updated the original Alchemy prototype, and while we noted from the beginning that it should not be relied upon for production content, we’ve received persistent requests from developers asking for official support in the Flash runtimes.

We’ve been listening and have decided to invest in creating an improved version of Alchemy, which we plan to release as part of a paid production offering for commercial development. We intend to make non-commercial use free of charge.

The production release will offer significantly better performance and productivity over the Labs prototype. By re-architecting major portions of the technology, we aim to enable code execution approaching native performance, scalable support for large code bases, full debugging support, up to 75% reduction in code size, and seamless integration with ActionScript – all while reaching virtually every connected computer on the web.

This new offering will be available with a future update to the Flash runtimes, and we are temporarily including the prototype in the initial releases of Flash Player 11 and AIR 3. We continue to advise developers not to use the prototype for production content. Content created with the prototype for Flash Player 10.x and AIR 2.x will continue to work in future versions of Flash Player and AIR. The new production version of Alchemy will be needed to deliver Alchemy-enabled content that requires Flash Player 11 or AIR 3 and beyond.

In other Adobe Labs updates, we’re excited about today’s announcement that Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 will be available in early October. They introduce full GPU-accelerated graphics rendering with the new Stage 3D API previewed on Adobe Labs, providing 1000x faster rendering performance over Flash Player 10 and AIR 2. Stage 3D takes the throttle off developer and designer creativity, enabling stunning content that can animate millions of objects with silky smooth 60 FPS rendering. Check out our announcement blog post to learn more about this and the other advanced new capabilities in Flash Player 11 and AIR 3.

We’re using the spirit of innovation behind Adobe Labs to change what people can do on the web, and technologies like Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 will enable a new class of incredible immersive experiences. We have a lot more in store as we continue our work to enable millions of developers to reach over a billion people with stunning applications – from games and premium video to sophisticated, data-driven content. We look forward to sharing – and showing – more about the future at Adobe MAX next month.

Update – Nov 22, 2011: Starting with Flash Player 11.2 and AIR 3.2, content targeting Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 (i.e., content using SWF version 13 and above) will not support the experimental Alchemy prototype. Existing Alchemy experiments targeting Flash Player 10.x and AIR 2.x are unaffected. We’re continuing work on the new production version of Alchemy for next year that will allow developers to publish Alchemy-enabled content targeting Flash Player 11 or AIR 3 and beyond. And if you’re interested in Alchemy, we invite you to participate in our survey. We appreciate hearing your thoughts and feedback!

 

Flash Player 10.2 is Here: Available Now for Windows, Mac, and Linux

Today, we’re launching Flash Player 10.2 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. We’re especially excited that this release introduces Stage Video, a full hardware accelerated video pipeline for best-in-class, beautiful video across platforms and browsers. Additionally, this version of Flash Player offers all the new capabilities previewed in our beta release, like custom native mouse cursors, multiple monitor full-screen support, Internet Explorer 9 hardware accelerated rendering support, and enhanced sub-pixel rendering for superior text readability.

In The City That Knows How*, A History of Moving Images

The Horse in Motion by Eadweard Muybridge

Here in San Francisco, we’ve had a bit of tradition around changing how folks see the world with images. In the 1870s, a San Francisco photographer named Eadweard Muybridge captured some of the earliest motion pictures. In 1927, Philo Farnsworth transmitted the first electronic television image in his laboratory on 202 Green Street.

And way back in 2002, a small team in San Francisco introduced video in Flash Player, bringing seamless video to 9 in 10 connected computers – allowing video to become an integral part of the web. Three years ago, that team introduced H.264 video to over 93 percent of users, bringing immersive high quality video to more people than ever. Flash Player has helped create a beautiful web that moves and connects. Flash Player 10.2 continues that tradition by introducing Stage Video: smoother, more efficient, more beautiful HD video for the web.

Bringing Beautiful Video to the Stage

Stage Video lets websites take advantage of full hardware acceleration of the entire video pipeline. This builds on the H.264 hardware accelerated decoding in Flash Player 10.1. Stage Video hardware acceleration means that Flash Player can play even higher quality video while using dramatically less processing power, giving users a better experience, greater performance, and longer battery life. In our testing across supported systems, we’ve found it’s up to 34 times more efficient.

Put another way, Flash Player using Stage Video can effortlessly play beautiful 1080p HD video with just 1-15% CPU usage on a common Mac or Windows computer* – working across platforms and browsers, it will enable the best video experience for the most people. Many millions of additional PCs, from netbooks to desktops, can now become slick HD home theaters on the web.

Note that Stage Video performance gains might not be visible right away. Websites and content providers will first need to update their video players before users experience Stage Video playback with Flash Player 10.2 on their sites. For developers, this typically means updating a SWF player file. However, no changes are needed to existing video libraries or infrastructure, and websites just continue to leverage Flash Player benefits including unmatched reach, advanced streaming capabilities, DVR-like playback control, rich interactivity, content protection, and consistency. Since adoption of new Flash Player releases is accelerating, websites can expect that many of the over 1 billion people with Flash Player will be ready to benefit from Stage Video in Flash Player 10.2 soon.

Companies like Vimeo, Brightcove, Epix, and YouTube have already started work to enable support for Stage Video to deliver amazing video playback experiences. You’ll be seeing them enable Stage Video performance in the near future. And you can try examples of Stage Video today after upgrading to Flash Player 10.2. Tens of thousands of sites will be enabled by the Brightcove player, and Jeff Whatcott at Brightcove explains, “Brightcove is continually innovating to deliver great video experiences. We have been blown away by the performance and efficiency of Stage Video and we are truly excited to be working so closely with Adobe to bring this breakthrough technology to customers.” And Ryan Hefner at Vimeo notes, “Since Vimeo’s users upload a lot of high-definition content, being that HD is the default quality for videos viewed on our site, the decision to take advantage of Stage Video in Flash Player 10.2 was a no brainer. We love to keep up on the latest technologies, and if those technologies also enhance the user experience for our users then it’s a win-win.” Folks that want to deliver gorgeous, smooth HD video to more people than ever have reason to be excited, and more and more sites will enable Stage Video in the coming months.

Additional New Capabilities in Flash Player 10.2

Along with the new Stage Video architecture, we’re adding features in Flash Player 10.2 to enable even more polished experiences.

  • Video at its best is immersive, so Flash Player allows you jump to true full screen playback with one click. With multiple display full screen support in Flash Player 10.2, you can now easily watch your favorite videos  in true full screen on one display while you multitask on another and get some work done (or not).
  • Added support for custom native mouse cursors lets designers and developers create their own static or animated cursors with silky smooth responsiveness, enabling richer game and application interfaces.
  • New sub-pixel text rendering enhancements leverage Adobe typography research to further enhance text readability, especially for complex character-based languages.
  • Support is included for the GPU rendering technology in Microsoft’s upcoming Internet Explorer 9 browser.

Today and the Future

You can install Flash Player 10.2 today. We encourage everyone, developers and users, to try it out and let us know what you think. And hang tight for exciting mobile updates. We’ll be providing more information about the next Flash Platform runtimes – Flash Player and AIR – on phone and tablet devices at Mobile World Congress next week. We’re thrilled about today’s launch, and we hope you enjoy it.

Tom Nguyen
Product Manager, Flash Platform Runtimes

* For example, using Flash Player 10.2 with Stage Video hardware acceleration, we’ve tested a Mac Mini released two years ago and a low-powered GPU-enabled Windows netbook playing smooth full HD 1080p video using less than 8% of the CPU; more powerful computers use even less.

Launching Flash Player 10.2 Beta

(update: the public release of Flash Player 10.2 has launched!)

We’re happy to announce a beta release of Flash Player 10.2 for Windows, Mac, and Linux is now available for download on Adobe Labs. Flash Player 10.2 beta introduces a number of enhancements we’re excited to share, including Stage Video, a new API that delivers best-in-class, high performance video playback across platforms. The new beta also includes Internet Explorer 9 hardware acceleration support previewed earlier (in Flash Player “Square”), enhanced text rendering, and two popular requests from the community: a native custom mouse cursors API and support for full screen playback with multiple monitors.

Setting the Stage for Beautiful Video

A lot of folks want to deliver the best possible video experience to the widest number of people. Stage Video in Flash Player 10.2 beta advances that goal. This new capability will help web sites deliver smooth, beautiful video across devices and browsers by enabling access to hardware acceleration of the entire video pipeline. As we showed in a sneak peek just last month at Adobe MAX, Flash Player 10.2 beta with Stage Video can deliver brilliant HD video with dramatically little processing power. Working together with hardware vendors has helped us take advantage of the GPU to offload not only H.264 hardware decoding (introduced in Flash Player 10.1) but the rest of the video rendering pipeline, including color conversion, scaling, and blitting. How efficient is hardware acceleration in Flash Player 10.2 beta? Using Stage Video, we’ve seen laptops play smooth 1080p HD video with just over 0% CPU usage.

Quality and performance are important, and so are richness and reach. Accordingly, Stage Video supports fully interactive, rich content combined with video. 1 billion people have Flash Player today. Because Stage Video works across browsers, when the final shipping version of Flash Player 10.2 is released, users will benefit from Stage Video accelerated content with a simple Flash Player update. We’re also introducing Stage Video across devices. In fact, today Google TV already takes advantage of Stage Video in Flash Player to deliver gorgeous 1080p HD video playback on TVs.

For content providers, Stage Video will work with all of the existing video viewed in Flash Player once they utilize the new API in their video player SWFs. This means their websites will continue to benefit from Flash Player’s advanced streaming for smooth, higher quality playback, DVR-like playback control, content protection, and consistency, with no changes to their encoded videos or infrastructure. Developers can learn more about how to enable their sites to take advantage of Stage Video today, and sites like YouTube have already started adding early support for Stage Video.

Other Enhancements

In addition to enhanced video playback, Flash Player 10.2 beta includes Internet Explorer 9 GPU support. In some of our tests this has yielded up to 35% improvement in rendering performance with Microsoft’s latest browser. Some other features are less about big numbers but little details that make experiences better. Flash Player has long allowed viewers to enjoy true full screen playback with one click. With Flash Player 10.2 beta, users with multiple monitors will be able to watch videos in true full screen on one display while multi-tasking on another (we heard you!). And we’re including another popular request from designers and developers: support for native custom mouse cursors. The new API allows developers to create their own cursors, static or animated, and ask the native OS to render them rather than use resources to manually draw custom cursors. This opens up new creative possibilities and can improve responsiveness in games, applications, and other content. Finally, the Flash Player 10.2 beta release also includes new sub-pixel text rendering enhancements that leverage Adobe typography research to further enhance readability of text in Flash Player, especially for complex character-based languages.

We encourage developers to install Flash Player 10.2 beta to check out these upcoming features. Developers with the beta can check out the Stage Video demos on Adobe Labs, including a demonstration of Stage Video from our friends at YouTube. If you’re an end-user, you probably don’t need to download the beta – you’ll benefit from Stage Video with the final release of Flash Player 10.2 next year as websites take advantage of it. We’ve found the beta to be pretty stable and ready for broad testing, but keep in mind this is a pre-release version of Flash Player, so not everything will be fully baked. If you encounter any issues, please file a bug in our public database so we can investigate. We appreciate your help and feedback.

We’re excited about what’s coming, and we hope you like it!

Tom Nguyen
Product Manager, Flash Platform Runtimes

Flash Player hardware video acceleration for Macs is now enabled

Earlier this year, we released a public preview of Flash Player called “Gala” that included support for H.264 GPU decoding on Mac OS X. We’re happy to announce that this feature is now officially enabled in the latest Flash Player, and it can significantly improve the performance of HD video. You’ll see these additional benefits on Macs with Mac OS X 10.6.4 or later supported by the Apple Video Decode Acceleration framework, including most MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac mini models shipped in 2009 or later. You can read more about the technical details behind Mac hardware decoding on our earlier blog post. And go get it.

Flash Player 10.1 introduced numerous major performance and power management enhancements, and the Mac in particular benefits from improvements that include full Cocoa support, graphics hardware acceleration using Core Animation, faster code execution, significant memory optimizations, and now GPU video decoding support. We’ve also got some major enhancements in the pipe that will further enhance how content is experienced using the Flash Player – stay tuned.

Tom Nguyen
Product Manager, Flash Player

The new Flash Player update and Google Chrome

We’ve just released an update to Flash Player 10.1. Google Chrome users have Flash Player integrated into their browser, and Google has begun pushing out automatic updates to Chrome users. If you’re using Chrome, you’ll automatically get the latest Flash Player, and most users will be updated within 24 hours (the Dev channel will be updated by the end of the week).

Chrome 5.0 users who can’t wait to get the new version of Flash Player can select “About Google Chrome” under the Tools menu (indicated by the wrench icon near the Chrome address bar) to trigger the latest update.

In addition, developers can view this TechNote to learn how to download a separate version of Flash Player manually and use it with Chrome. However, we recommend that Chrome users simply wait to receive an automatic update and benefit from the seamless upgrade via their browser.

Tom Nguyen
Product Manager, Flash Player