August 20, 2007 9:01 PM PDT

Adobe brings high definition to Flash videos

Adobe Systems intends to add support for a video compression standard that will bring high-definition video to Flash-based streaming content on the Web.

The company on Tuesday is expected to announce the release of a beta version of its Flash Player, code-named Moviestar, that adds support for H.264, the video compression portion of the MPEG 4 standard.

The updated Flash Player also will be able to take advantage of hardware acceleration in most PCs' graphics cards and is optimized for dual-core processors, said Mark Randall, chief strategist for dynamic media at Adobe. It will support HE-AAC version 2, a more efficient audio compression standard that is also part of MPEG 4.

The new features will be made available in the fall as part of an update to Flash Player 9.

Support for the H.264 standard will lead to more Web video content being available in high definition, Randall said. He said Adobe chose to support the standard now because it is being adopted more by content producers and media distributors like cable companies.

Flash is a de facto standard for streaming video used by YouTube and other high-volume Web sites.

But Microsoft is challenging Flash's dominance in Web video with Silverlight. Microsoft has signed on large video publishers to use Silverlight, including MLB.com.

Silverlight supports Windows Media Audio and Video and another video compression standard based on Windows Media called VC-1. Microsoft has not announced plans to support H.264, but a representative said the company could add support based on customer feedback.

See more CNET content tagged:
video compression, H.264, Microsoft Silverlight, Flash Player, Adobe Systems Inc.

8 comments

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The "iPhone" update
H.264 and use of graphics chipsets not the CPU. This sounds like
its the version of Flash that Apple will let be installed in the iPhone.
Posted by Anondson (4 comments )
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agreed
Let's hope this is the case.
Posted by Randys2cents (81 comments )
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SDK still at Version 7 for hardware devices
I like that Adobe is adding HD video, however, they really should get their hardware SDK up to date so devices like the Wii can support it.
Posted by harperjm--2008 (9 comments )
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Codec info wrong
H264 isn't a "high definition codec". It is a codec that can be used for high definition. H264 was originally designed for cell phones so HD wasn't even in the original picture. It was only after variable block sizing was added, which altered the original syntax, that H264 truely even became and option for HD.
Posted by J. Blow (193 comments )
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partly right
HD is defined by aspect ratio and resolution, to name a few, and
not the CODEC that is used to essentially play it. However H264
is a standards based CODEC (MPEG 4).

It was not designed specifically for cell phones, but one that
could be used for extremely high resolution digital video for the
motion picture industry all the way down to cell phone
resolution.

The key is that it is an ISO standard, has superior quality and is
very scalable that makes it the frontrunner for HD content. VC-1
is the proprietary Microsoft equivalent to H264 which doesn't
seem to gaining much traction.
Posted by pugscanfly (21 comments )
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Native Linux 64 bit support
And still no word of 64 bit OS support natively without running 32 bit browsers.

A must is 64 bit OS native support applications.
Posted by Nael (112 comments )
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ERROR: Your architecture, \'x86_64\', is not supported
ERROR: Your architecture, \'x86_64\', is not supported by the
Adobe Flash Player installer.

On Linux x86_64
Posted by Nael (112 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft are you listening? We want MPEG-4!!
I am so sick of MS trying to control every format under the Q@*$^
sun.

As a content producer, I want an OPEN standard.
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
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