back to article Adobe improves Flash video

The next version of Flash Player will support the H.264 video codec - allowing much better quality footage, for less bandwidth. H.264, also known as MPEG4 Part 10, is a video standard offering much greater compression than its predecessors, as well as working over a huge range of bandwidths and resolutions. Such is the …


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  1. Edwin


    How nice.

    What would be even nicer is if they built a Flash player that rendered 3D at something even remotely approaching 20fps under Vista.

    Flash performance on my x64 installation is nothing short of appalling.

  2. Ian Ferguson

    Re: Yay

    The Flash player isn't intended for 3D. It's intended to be a minimal-size installation for simple 2D graphics - considering the size of the installation, it's pretty successful.

    The Shockwave player was meant to be the all-singing all-dancing version with 3D and other effects (variable transparency like smoke effects, etc) but I don't think it really took off.

    I'm no expert but I expect Shockwave makes use of your computer's own 3D capabilities (GPU) while any 3D effects done in Flash are calculated on the fly by the resources allocated to rendering the webpage. Wrong tool for the job, in other words.

    What would be more useful is if Adobe added an option to the right click menu for 'block Flash from this domain'. Flash adverts are the bane of my existence. The Firefox plugin Flashblock is a must-have, but provides an opt-in rather than opt-out (or whitelist instead of blacklist, if you prefer).

  3. seanfur111111


    Bill Ray is being very silly when he says H.264 is or can be better by "an order of magnitude" in its compression rate vis-a-vis MPEG2. It's better by less than a factor of two. He's not being silly when he says that the execution time is so much slower that you need customized hardware acceleration for it.

    Incidentally it seems to me that Adobe suffers from the same syndrome that has been afflicting Microsoft. Their improved products arrive very late and seriously buggy, and this is chronic. As everybody knows, a large number of programmers working on improvements to a large existing codebase have got low productivity. But did we know that it's this bad?

  4. Ryan

    @Ian Ferguson

    Use AdBlockPlus then.

  5. Stuart Van Onselen


    Well, a factor of two is an order of magnitude in binary.

    OK, so I'm a pedant. Sue me. ;-)

    But to be serious: I'm a pseudo-broadband user. I use 3G HSDPA, which, while vastly superior to my old dialup (more than a base-10 order-of-magnitude, in fact) it is just barely able to handle most streaming video. Of course, it may not be my connection, it could be the fact that I'm in South Africa, and our geographical isolation from the First World reduces our national bandwidth somewhat.

    Whatever the cause, a 2x reduction in size sounds very appealing to me. I can always buy a faster machine to handle the decoding, if need be. I can not afford my own exclusive 10,000 mile T3 line to Europe!

  6. Ben Burt

    Flash...... bahumbug

    About time, they made some upgrades.

    The last few versions of flash have been crap.

    Now they just need to make flash player less of a cpu hog.

    I look a few different news sites, most now use flash for advertising.

    my p4 2ghz pc is too slow to run the flash ads, so I need to run a flash blocker.

  7. Andy Worth

    Adobe improved something?

    Wow....wonders will never cease :)

  8. Tom

    Wonder how long it will take

    ...for MS to get El Reg to get an article up about the wonders of Silverlight

    Talking of which, if you want some really good Silverlight training, google "JB International", give them a call, and ask for Tom ;-)

    Counting the seconds till my shameless plug gets pulled...

  9. Stef

    Lock-in ?!

    After reading some FAQ's I learned that Adobe is trying to lock customers into their technologies after all.

    MPEG-4 is supposed to be an open standard, allowing technologies from different vendors to interoperate. That's the fundamental idea behind MPEG-4.

    But, Adobe states that they won't allow third party mediaservers to stream MPEG-4 to Flash Player.

    Adobe has chosen to support MPEG-4 containers and codecs, but fails to choose the MPEG-4 transport protocol (RTSP) but instead chooses their own proprietary RTMP protocol.

    Adobe will force customers to use their extremely expensive Flash Media Server instead of great MPEG-4 mediaservers such as Darwin/QuickTime Streaming Server.

  10. seanfur111111

    pseudo-broadband users

    Eighty percent of home internet users in Korea are connected at 20 megabits per second (or better), which is sufficient bandwidth for hi-def video (1024 by 768 pixels per frame and 30 frames per second). Certainly, bandwidth almost as good as that will be delivered to the masses in South Africa and the US in the not-too-distant future. By comparison the 2x improvement in the compression rate of h.264, although worthwhile, is relatively unimportant.

    Incidentally only thirty percent of Korean households are connected to the internet. The average monthly price in Korea about US$40, which of course is too expensive for an occasional user.

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