Print 36 comment(s) - last by Klinky1984.. on Dec 12 at 12:48 PM

Stage Video is key new feature of beta offering

Adobe has launched a new beta version of its Flash Player. The new version is 10.2 beta and it is available on Windows, Linux, and Mac computers right now on Adobe Labs. The new beta includes Stage Video which is a new API that has best in class video playback performance across platforms. The beta also has support for hardware acceleration in IE9.

Other new features include enhanced text rendering, native mouse cursors API along, and support for full screen playback with multiple monitors. Stage Video is one of the most important things in the new beta version and promises to allow websites to deliver smooth video to a number of different devices and access hardware acceleration for the entire video pipeline.

Adobe writes, "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."

Stage video will work with all existing video viewed in Flash Player according to Adobe once the new API is used in the video player SWFs. Adobe notes that YouTube has already started to add early support for Stage Video. Using IE9, Adobe claims that some tests have shown up to 35% improvement in rendering performance. The final release of Flash Player 10.2 is expected for next year.

Adobe notes, "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."

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By MikeMurphy on 12/1/2010 10:45:52 AM , Rating: 5
I'm still delighted that Adobe implemented GPU acceleration (finally).

What we really need is better flash performance on smartphones.

RE: heh
By MeesterNid on 12/1/2010 11:34:34 AM , Rating: 5
I disagree...what we really need is more HTML5 video and better browser support for HTML5.

RE: heh
By greylica on 12/2/2010 6:58:54 AM , Rating: 2
You sir, for your HTML5 comment, deserves 8 !

RE: heh
By B3an on 12/4/2010 6:36:09 AM , Rating: 1
And why do we need this when we already have a better option? HTML5 video is inferior to Flash.

Now Flash has better performing Video playback. On top of this Flash can play different video codecs and many file types - now all fully hardware accelerated. It dont support one standard like HTML5 officially does.

It can play H.264 in many formats - MP4, M4A, Quicktime, then theres 3GPP, FLV, and F4V files. Soon it will also support the open standard VP8 video codec from Google.

Then theres the capabilites of Flash has over HTML5 video for streaming and managing bitrates, it's ability to fully secure the content, to support alpha channels in video, easily make your own custom player interface, or have animations and anything else on top of the video or interacting with it, including subtitles. For example compare the youtube HTML5 player to the Flash version. It's very limited in comparison to what it can do (not everything is immediately obvious or even noticeable to the user though). Even Google/youtube seem to have now gone back to using the Flash Player as default with browsers that support HTML5 video.
Yeah Flash is proprietary but it is open for anyone to make there own Flash Player (and people have) and it will support an open video codec, unlike HTML5.

RE: heh
By priusone on 12/1/2010 11:53:35 AM , Rating: 2
I've only been using pocketpc and smartphone products since 2001, and in 9 years, Flash files and vids still skip on these devices. Sure, my Droid runs Flash better than any other mobile device I'm owned, and not that I agree with Jobs, but why can't Flash get their act together?

RE: heh
By Murst on 12/1/2010 12:45:51 PM , Rating: 5
They never really had any incentive to make flash better. Now that its being shown that Flash can in fact be replaced, they're working harder than ever.

Intel got lazy with the P4, and eventually came up with the C2D. Flash will either improve greatly, or fade away. Either way, consumers win.

RE: heh
By B3an on 12/4/2010 7:10:35 AM , Rating: 2
Thats not true at all. I've been using Flash since the 90's and it's one the web technologies that has improved the most. People like you say this because you hear others say it, you dont actually think for yourself or bother to learn anything about Flash.

Unlike HTML, Flash has progressed massively over the years and is nothing like the first versions. It's also on it's 3rd version of Action Script (it's coding language) where as HTML wont officially reach version 5 until 2012, yet HTML has been around since the 1970's.

In the Time HTML has been around, Flash has caught up and far surpassed it. HTML5 cant even do 10% of the things Flash can right now. Flash has gone from something that could only really do animations when it was released to a full blown application platform with a powerful coding language that is very similar to the C languages, and is capable of making apps, not just web content, for all major desktop/laptop OS's and phone OS's. It can do pretty much anything you want and has some of the best animation and design tools at your disposal.

RE: heh
By B3an on 12/4/2010 6:54:54 AM , Rating: 2
but why can't Flash get their act together?

I think the problem is more: Why do people like you lack so much common sense regarding Flash? and why is it so widespread?

First of all - animations and interactive content tend to use more CPU cycles than a simple static HTML page. Shocking isn't it??

Now try playing HTML5 animations on a smartphone - not only do they run at vastly lower frame rates then the flash alternative (there was even an article on here about this) but it also drains the battery faster as it's using more CPU.
Whats extremely funny about this is these are the reasons Apple are choosing not to use Flash on there iDevices, and instead use HTML5. Yet on Apples own site where they have HTML5 animation examples - they completely cripple the iPhone/iPad for even the most simple of things. Yet a mid-range lower powered Android phone could run these same animations in Flash at more than 5x the frame rate. You can see videos on youtube of HTML5 animations on Apple devices being compared to Flash on Android.

Adobe are constantly improving Flash's performance, the last 3 versions of the player have seen big improvements. But they can only do so much, it's down to devs like myself to make this content work better on phones, and most of us just dont intend it for phone use in the first place.

RE: heh
By bug77 on 12/1/2010 1:58:37 PM , Rating: 2
What we really need is better Flash performance on everything that's not Windows. And even on Windows, Flash is still the prime reason we need each tab to run in its own process.

Also, what does "best in class" mean in this context?

RE: heh
By sprockkets on 12/1/2010 3:47:19 PM , Rating: 3
I'm still delighted that Adobe implemented GPU acceleration (finally).

It's been gpu accelerated since 10.1, and the beta on that was 1.5 years ago.

Where were you?

RE: heh
By bug77 on 12/1/2010 4:50:35 PM , Rating: 2
On Linux/Mac OS maybe?

Fwiw, Stage Video is supposed to bring acceleration to all platforms. Then again, so was Flash 10.1, but it the end it ended up launching with Windows acceleration only.

RE: heh
By sprockkets on 12/1/2010 5:12:22 PM , Rating: 2
Well, according to their pdf about the release, it again only supports Windows and OSX.

Ironic is the fact that Linux with Moonlight has hardware decode support with Silverlight. Of course Netflix can't be arsed with using it even though its the same thing.

RE: heh
By bug77 on 12/2/2010 3:51:06 AM , Rating: 2
What can I say? Lightspark FTW!

RE: heh
By bug77 on 12/2/2010 4:10:31 AM , Rating: 2
Hey, it there's good news for Linux after all:

Uses VDPAU, but if you cared about Linux at all, you already have a Nvidia card.

RE: heh
By B3an on 12/4/2010 7:29:41 AM , Rating: 2
The reason Flash Player 10.1 did not support hardware decode on OSX was simply because Apple would not allow Adobe to tap into OSX's hardware acceleration. They changed there policies later on which is why FP 10.2 now supports OSX acceleration.

RE: heh
By Klinky1984 on 12/1/2010 5:31:08 PM , Rating: 2
Really they should have had hardware acceleration setup when they first started implementing video in Flash. I am talking about basic overlay/blitting support. Nothing was more pitiful than Flash using your CPU to resize a 320x240 video up to 1920x1080.

RE: heh
By caqde on 12/1/2010 6:24:27 PM , Rating: 2
You can't implement hardware acceleration for video when the support didn't exist for them to implement in the first place back in 2000 - 2001 when they started implementing it (2002 release date for Macromedia Flash 6 back in the day), when you make a plugin your access to drawing is limited to your access to the hardware from the host application (Firefox, IE9, Safari, etc) so not only does Flash need to implement Hardware Acceleration so does the Browser which we are now seeing, oh and the OS since the Browser relies on that.

RE: heh
By Klinky1984 on 12/12/2010 12:48:47 PM , Rating: 2
Why are there so many people with misinformation? Flash is a plugin and can pretty much do whatever it wants, that's why you need to install it separately, it's it's own application that runs inside/along side the browser.

You're confusing different technologies. I am talking about hardware overlay rendering which is where the computer sends a bitmap stream to the video card and the video card uses it's internal scalers to resize to full screen video instead of having the CPU resize the bitmaps itself. What flash is talking about is hardware accelerated decoding of h.264/mpeg4 content, this is nothing to do with hardware scaling. Finally browsers are starting to implement hardware acceleration via DirectWrite to allow advanced compositing effects and lower CPU usage when rendering web pages/HTML5, again nothing to do with scaling or h.264 decoding.

The reason Flash didn't implement overlay surfaces is because the goal of the overlay surface is to lower bandwidth and cpu requirements when scaling video, having the video card scale and send it back probably wasn't that conducive to performance. However, it would have been nice if they could have implemented a way to "break-out" the video on to an overlay surface or switch to overlay when doing fullscreen.

By semo on 12/1/10, Rating: 0
RE: Finally
By Murst on 12/1/2010 11:07:19 AM , Rating: 2
I don't understand why you would NOT want someone to come up with a faster/better way to play video. Dumping everything on the processor is certainly not the ideal thing to do.

So we should stop all advancements in video decoding because you can work on something else while watching a full screen video?

BTW, what exactly do you think should be used for online video if not for Flash? Would it be Silverlight? Quicktime? Media Player? Or maybe HTML 5, which isn't even supported on the majority of PCs out there and has WORSE performance than Flash?

RE: Finally
By semo on 12/1/2010 12:08:21 PM , Rating: 2
you seem to disagree that multitasking while playing video is vital requirement for any video player (one of flash's main uses on the internet).
Do you not have more than one displays?

RE: Finally
By Murst on 12/1/2010 12:42:36 PM , Rating: 3
I'm using 2 monitors atm, although that's completely irrelevant.

I don't really consider the ability to view full screen video and the ability to work on another program at the same time a critical feature, but if that is something you require, the article states that it will be supported in the 10.2 update.

So either you're being sarcastic and making fun of improvements to the Flash player, or you didn't read the article.

RE: Finally
By semo on 12/1/2010 2:18:10 PM , Rating: 2
My argument that this is an essential feature for a video player and flash should have had it much earier (it's been around for years on standalone video players). I know flash is not a dedicated video player but we are all forced to use on the internet.

1 example where I need this is when I watch a youtube tutorial on how to use application X. I have X on one monitor and youtube playing on the other. I welcome the change but hate the fact I had to wait so long. It's not like there is an alternative (paid or free) so I think Adobe have a responsibility for keeping up to date. I think they are implenting these features now because more promising competition is cropping up.

If it wasn't for silverlight and HTML 5's development, Adobe would still be sitting on their hands.

RE: Finally
By Klinky1984 on 12/1/2010 5:39:38 PM , Rating: 2
Flash was slow as ass playing video when it did it all on the CPU and you still couldn't do full screen on a 2nd monitor with it. Even after adding hardware acceleration they still don't have it in any of their stable releases, unless you hack the .dll file.

Fullscreen, non-choppy, overlay based video has been available since the late 90s, sad that Flash is finally getting it's act together with such "cutting edge" features.

RE: Finally
By caqde on 12/1/2010 6:35:52 PM , Rating: 2
True if you are an application and not a plugin. None of the browsers were drawing to the screen using anything that would allow a plugin to use that capability so no plugin could use such capability. Quicktime and Mediaplayer are exceptions to this rule though as they aren't built like flash they call to an outside program to display a file. Flash uses the browser exclusively for all drawing calls.

Oh and Flash 10.1 (STABLE) has hardware acceleration. Just not to the level 10.2 is going to have. Maybe your hardware doesn't support it?

RE: Finally
By Klinky1984 on 12/10/2010 10:35:27 AM , Rating: 2
Not sure where you got your misinformation, but Flash doesn't exclusively use the browsers rendering/drawing engine. It is a plugin that could "break-out" just a much as QT or WMP could. The reason they kept everything software is because their rendering engine was entirely software based & it would have been hard to integrate effects from an overlay surface with their software rendering engine.

Now they did start offering hardware acceleration, which is not quite the same as what I was talking about. They accelerate the video decoding by doing it on the video card, however that stream is still sent back to Flash's software renderer which is why Intel Atom based systems with nVIDIA ION2 struggle when dealing with HD flash based content, because of the neutered bandwidth on the PCIe 1x connection that ION hooks up to. You also may see higher CPU usage when resizing video to something other than the native resolution of the stream because the resizing is being done by the CPU.

Benchmark preview?
By tastyratz on 12/1/2010 11:04:55 AM , Rating: 2
Dont be a tease: update the article with a before and after benchmark of current stable vs beta flash players so we can see what kind of tangible increase to actually expect.

RE: Benchmark preview?
By Scabies on 12/1/2010 11:13:50 AM , Rating: 2
further, let us know which takes more battery out of that laptop demo.

RE: Benchmark preview?
By magreen on 12/1/2010 11:32:38 AM , Rating: 5
and make me a sammich!

RE: Benchmark preview?
By geddarkstorm on 12/1/2010 2:20:00 PM , Rating: 2
Fetch me a beer while you're at it.

Linux GPU Acceleration?
By zephyrxero on 12/1/2010 11:23:47 AM , Rating: 2
I hope Adobe finally starts taking advantage of VA-API for their Linux users. Also nice to see them taking 64-bit more seriously this go round.

RE: Linux GPU Acceleration?
By DanNeely on 12/1/2010 11:47:09 AM , Rating: 2
Am I missing something. There's no mention of 64bit in the article, and went I to the DL page I only saw 32 bit flash versions.

Fill in the blanks game
By NanoTube1 on 12/1/2010 3:05:56 PM , Rating: 2
Flash is _____ because Steve Jobs ______

You can fill in one word or more.

RE: Fill in the blanks game
By jisakujien on 12/3/2010 10:32:23 AM , Rating: 2
Flash is a steaming pile, and has always been. Because Steve Jobs is controversial (and possibly insane) we will leave him out of this discussion.

The only thing Macromedia created that was had real value was Dreamweaver, to disabuse students of the idea that web design is a good career path.

Adobe has been coasting (or decaying) for a while now, IMO. C.F. the devolution of Creative Suite.

*goes back to his cave*

Its not just about video
By blakflag on 12/2/2010 10:38:49 AM , Rating: 2
The acceleration in this beta goes beyond video playback. It's about full 3D acceleration. Check out the demos here.. the city demo is pretty mind blowing (for being in a flash player).

Your next FPS might be written in flash. :)

RE: Its not just about video
By bug77 on 12/2/2010 11:45:13 AM , Rating: 2
The next FPS might be written in Flash, but it sure won't be mine.

"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs

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