Adobe has announced today that a new update is
available as a beta called Flash Player 10.1. The update is
notable because it adds GPU acceleration features to the Flash Player
allowing the acceleration of video to be offloaded from the CPU. High
resolution flash video processing is traditionally very CPU intensive
meaning that playback at sites like Hulu is typically choppy no
matter how fast your computer runs.
Flash Player 10.1 is the
first consistent browser runtime release of the Open Screen Project.
The new version promises to enable uncompressed web browsing of
application and HD videos across desktops and devices like
smartphones and tablets. Adobe reports that the new player version
delivers media using HTTP streaming with content protection powered
by Adobe Flash Access 2.0.
The key upgrade for Flash 10.1 is
that the player can now use hardware decoding of H.264 video on
Windows PCs, notebooks, and mobile devices. The new version of Flash
Player also supports Mac and Linux. Adobe has also issued a new
update for AIR to AIR 2 that allows developers to create feature rich
applications in the desktop context.
“With the beta
availability of Adobe AIR 2 and Flash Player 10.1 today, we are
taking an important step toward realizing the Open Screen Project
vision to enable rich Internet experiences across any device,
anywhere,” said David Wadhwani, general manager and vice president,
Platform Business Unit at Adobe. “Content creators will provide
multi-screen experiences with uncompromised Web browsing and
standalone applications across desktops and netbooks, and in the near
future across a wide range of mobile devices.”
video acceleration feature works on supported GPUs only. Supported
GPUs include the NVIDIA Ion chipset, ATI Radeon HD 4000, 5700, and
5800 series video cards. ATI Mobility HD 4000 series and HD 3000 are
supported along with several ATI FirePro video cards. Video cards
from the NVIDIA GeForce 8, 9 or GTS/GTX series are supported as well
with the exception of the NVIDIA G80 cards including the 8800 GTX and
out the beta Flash Player 10.1 and reports that Hulu playback on
ION is nearly perfect. The publication found that CPU utilization
dropped significantly with the new Flash Player. Utilization while
watching an episode of The Office called “Murder” dropped from
70% with Flash 10.0.32.18 to 30% with Flash 10.1.51.45.
AnandTech test article stated, "These are awesome
improvements. The Hulu HD results were a bit high but the YouTube HD
test showed a drop from 60% CPU utilization down to 12%. Most
If you use Firefox, you will have to jump
through a few more hoops to use the new version of Flash Player. The
AnandTech story reports, "Before running a YouTube HD
clip, please go to Firefox menus and select Tools/Clear Recent
History. Ensure the Cookies checkbox is checked, and do the clear.
Next, go to Tools/Options/Privacy and select Never Remember History."