August 22, 2007

Flash video goes high-def

Great news from the Flash team: the latest version of the Flash Player (available now in beta form) will support the H.264 video codec, paving the way for hardware-accelerated, full-screen high-definition movies on the Web.  Adobe platform evangelist Ryan Stewart hits the highlights:

Does the addition of H.264 mean Flash Player will support HD?
Yes, Flash Player supports 480p, 720p and 1080p content encoded with either On2 or H.264. Performance will vary depending on the capabilities and configuration of your machine. In general a 2.0 GHz Mac or a 3GHz PC, with one or more processors, will deliver an optimum experience.

Will Flash Player 9 Update 3 support non-FLV files?
Yes, with this update, Flash Player will also support MPEG-4 standard container files […]

So basically you can play full, hardware-accelerated 1080p Quicktime videos inside of the updated Flash Player. Welcome to the next generation of web video.

Indeed.  I knew these changes were in the works, but I really didn’t expect them to arrive so quickly. Flash Player engineer Tinic Uro has the details, while Aral Balkan has a full FAQ. All in all, this is a great step forward for Flash developers, Flash video-creating apps (including Photoshop Extended), and Flash video watchers (y’know–just about everyone ever ;-)).

Posted by John Nack at 8:30 PM on August 22, 2007

Comments

  • ion gion — 12:10 AM on August 23, 2007

    Indeed this is great news. You now see how big clients influence Adobe less than we do, if it wasn’t for apple and their youtube deals the chances for the flash player to get this would have been extremely small.
    Like if it is not the designers/developers who gave flash its current spread. When would the flash player add a new realtime audio encoding codec without any licensing issues, to make us free from the pain of nellyhorse-sh** or when would we benefit from 2d/3d graphics acceleration in it ?!?
    Well, these things are appearing in competition technologies like Silverlight and JavaFX, and as soon there would be some really designer friendly authoring tools for them, you will start seeing mases moving.

  • stef — 7:48 AM on August 23, 2007

    and all these capabilities in less than 100k, across 3 major platforms (mac, pc and linux). that is the real marvel. ion needs to realize that player size, cross-platform is crucial. this requires careful consideration and extensive testing. stef

  • kevin weil — 8:57 PM on August 23, 2007

    All i want is flash for my iPhone (and a way to turn it off when I dont!)

  • Grover — 6:43 AM on August 24, 2007

    I don’t understand why everyone is characterizing this as an advance in video quality. VP6 is an excellent codec, on par or sometimes even better than H.264. I’m delighted at the news because it makes H.264 encoded .mp4 files essentially a no-brainer as the go-to format, but VP6 has always had excellent effciency and perfectly capable of displaying HiDef resolutions.
    [I’m not an expert in this field, but I think the excitement comes from the fact that the announcement really encompasses a variety of changes/improvements. One of those is that the Flash Player is adopting greater and greater levels of hardware acceleration. That’s great for video, but over time I expect it to help all Flash authors & viewers have smoother experiences. –J.]
    In fact, I wonder if this will be as big of a deal as everyone seems to think it is. VP6 has been more than up to the task of bringing Flash video up to the level of other formats, but most applications continue to use Spark-based video for the sake of compatibility despite the fact that the VP6 compatible flash plugin is already deployed as widely as one could dare to hope for. I hope I’m wrong (I know we’re going to jump on this nearly immediately) but since the user could generally care less since they won’t see any real increase in quality, it seems like it might be awhile before this announcement really means anything.
    On an only vaguely related note, will we be able to access .mp4 streams from QTSS from within Flash? That would make my day.
    [That I don’t know. –J.]

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