SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Adobe has released Flash Player 10.2, adding hardware acceleration for the entire video pipeline.
Adobe's release of Flash Player 10.2 for Windows, Mac and Linux is the first to feature full video pipeline hardware acceleration, which it calls "Stage Video". The firm claims Stage Video provides a 34X improvement in efficiency of video playback.
Previously Adobe's Flash Player 10.1 had supported hardware acceleration for H.264 video decoding, however Adobe claims Stage Video can "effortlessly play beautiful 1080p HD video with just 1-15 [per cent] CPU usage on a common Mac or Windows computer". Its definition of a common Mac or Windows computer is minimal and a bit vague, saying only, "we've tested a Mac Mini released two years ago and a low-powered GPU-enabled Windows netbook".
Nit-picking aside, Adobe's decision to fully accelerate the video pipeline should bring improvements to more than just video playback, with lower CPU utilisation leading to better battery life. Adobe made the rare move of warning that Adobe Flash 10.2 users might not see the benefits of Stage Video just yet, saying websites such as Youtube and Vimeo are still in the process of incorporating the new software.
Aside from video pipeline acceleration, Adobe has incorporated multiple display fullscreen support, custom mouse cursors, improvements in text rendering and support for Microsoft's upcoming Internet Explorer 9 GPU rendering technology in Flash Player 10.2.
What is missing from Adobe's latest release notes is any reference to improved security. Features such as hardware acceleration are welcome, however many users would appreciate not having to worry about what vulnerabilities might lurk in Adobe's code. µ
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