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.

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