Flash Player upgrade features HD video

Stage Video capability offered along with multiscreen support in version 10.2 of Adobe's software

Adobe Systems began shipping this week Flash Player 10.2, featuring a Stage Video capability providing a hardware-accelerated pipeline for "best in class" video across browsers and platforms.

Downloadable at Adobe's website, version 10.2 is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The Stage Video capability gives Flash Player the ability to play 1080p HD video with 1 to 15 percent CPU usage on a common Mac or Windows computer, said Adobe's Tom Nguyen, product manager for Flash Platform Runtimes.

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"Stage Video lets websites take advantage of full hardware acceleration of the entire video pipeline. This builds on the H.264 hardware-accelerated decoding in Flash Player 10.1," Nguyen said in a blog post. "Stage Video hardware acceleration means that Flash Player can play even higher quality video while using dramatically less processing power, giving users a better experience, greater performance, and longer battery life. In our testing across supported systems, we've found it's up to 34 times more efficient."

But Stage Video performance gains may not be immediately visible, Nguyen said: "Websites and content providers will first need to update their video players before users experience Stage Video playback with Flash Player 10.2 on their sites." Developers typically need to update a SWF player file, but no changes are needed to existing video libraries or infrastructure.

The Flash Player upgrade also features custom native mouse cursors, multiple-monitor screen support, Internet Explorer 9 hardware-accelerated rendering, and enhanced subpixel rendering for text readability, Nguyen said. "With multiple display full-screen support in Flash Player 10.2, you can now easily watch videos in true full screen on one display while you multitask on another," Nguyen said.

He urged patience in waiting for mobile updates. "We'll be providing more information about the next Flash Platform runtimes -- Flash Player and AIR -- on phone and tablet at Mobile World Congress next week," in Barcelona, Nguyen said.

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