Flash Player 10.1 – H.264 hardware decoding support
An interesting week for the Flash platform community, Flash Player 10.1 prerelease and AIR 2.0 beta were released on Adobe Labs. A lot of innovations for a Flash Player dot release including mobile support for a variety of devices, multi-touch, better graphics acceleration, memory management, improved microphone access, HTTP streaming and H.264 hardware decoding.
Each of these features is fairly complex and to get a good overview, I would recommend watching the overview videos on the Adobe Developer Center. The hardware decoding support is primary targeting mobile devices and netbooks, since by design the H.264 software decoding resources on those platforms are limited. But it’s also possible to use this feature on the desktop with supported graphic cards.
What does this mean for HD web video? A 1080p video that utilized 50-70% CPU before, can use the GPU to decode the video and run with a lot less CPU impact. The 1080p demo I posted previously runs perfectly smoothly now with GPU acceleration and an average of 16% CPU utilization.
And to make the transition easy, it doesn’t require any SWF source code modifications – hardware decode will automatically turn on if available. Great times for Flash based HD video.
More details from Tinic Uro, Sr. Computer Scientist on the Flash Player team: