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Activity Forums Compression Techniques Adobe Flash Player to Adopt H.264

  • Adobe Flash Player to Adopt H.264

    Posted by Craig Seeman on August 21, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    Adobe Flash Player to Adopt H.264
    The Earth’s rotation just shifted!
    This blog from an Adobe Flash software engineer explains much of the tech stuf
    Flash Video on the web

    The short version seems to mean that H.264 content, following the guidelines in the above blog, will be playable in the next Flash Player.

    Lots of implications here. For me it means H.264, no longer reliant only on Quicktime 7 Player, may be a “safe” choice to encode to.

    Your thoughts?

    David Roth weiss replied 16 years, 10 months ago 7 Members · 11 Replies
  • 11 Replies
  • Ed Dooley

    August 21, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    It’s pretty awesome. WMV isn’t going away anytime soon though (DRM for example). The Beta is available now, but the player isn’t till fall. It’s the same old “I better wait until enough people have updated their player.” But once that catches up…….
    The only other thing that comes to mind is that I’ve gotten used to creating a Mac and PC version for most clients, which also allows me to tweak the gamma for each. A one-stop-shopping version will have to be a gamma compromise.

  • Craig Seeman

    August 21, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    Think of what this means to us compressionists though. One might be able to do H.264 encodes which can be used in Flash/Flash Player rather than having to do an On2VP6 (Flash 8) encode.

    This might have some impact on the potential growth of Microsoft Silverlight.

    I believe H.264 (MPEG4) can have the profile embedded in it so there’s no gamma shift between Mac and PC. I have no idea if this is viable with the new Flash Player though.

  • Craig Seeman

    August 21, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    BTW for those who don’t understand what this thread is about, here’s Cow News Droid on Flash/H.264

  • Daniel Low

    August 22, 2007 at 9:31 am

    Great news. Now Flash has got something champion the video technologies in Silverlight.

  • David Roth weiss

    August 22, 2007 at 5:59 pm


    Well, so far I’m not very impressed. The beta download doesn’t seem to play H.264 QTs, at least not on a Mac. I hate when that happens… I think I’ll keep encoding Flash video in the near term.

    While I’ve not completely wrapped my brain around the signifigance of Adobe’s decision to support H.264 on Flash Player, it can’t hurt. Ultimately it would be very nice if video simply played whenever and wherever users want to play it. Hopefully this will help to move us all in that direction.


    David Roth Weiss
    David Weiss Productions, Inc.
    Los Angeles


  • Rich Rubasch

    August 22, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    Don’t forget that Adobe is also concurrently developing Apollo. This addition of H.264 to Flash is probably only part of the equation. Having complete compatibility with H.264 will really let Apollo sing.

    I pretty much alway like what Adobe does, including adding layers to Photoshop in version 3, buying Cosa back in the early 1990s and making the Flash interface more like AfterEffects.

    Rich Rubasch
    Tilt Media

  • Craig Seeman

    August 23, 2007 at 8:44 pm

    [David Roth Weiss] “Well, so far I’m not very impressed. The beta download doesn’t seem to play H.264 QTs, at least not on a Mac.”

    Me neither. I installed the Beta on my Windows XP box. I followed the instructions to run the uninstaller first (as required for the Windows install). The uninstall and install seemed to go fine. My thinking is that the most benefit will be Windows users who have Flash installed but won’t install Quicktime 7 to play H.264.

    WELLLL. Not only is there no obvious way to have Flash take control of H.264 playback from Quicktime, it now wont play Flash! I keep gettin a request to update my Flash to the current release version. Ugh!

  • David Roth weiss

    August 23, 2007 at 9:13 pm


    At least my Flash Player still works…

    FYI, because I’m a “valued” Flix Pro customer I just got a message from the folks at On2 regarding the Adobe Flash/H.264 initiative. Here’s what they said:

    “Dear valued On2 Flix customer,

    With recent announcements from On2, Adobe and others, I wanted to update you on your On2 Flix application. As you know, our Flix family, Pro, Exporter and Standard, are some of the best tools available for creating Flash video content. We are committed to further enhancing this toolset and have exciting news we want to share with you.

    On2 has been working with H.264 for months now and this has made it easy for us to add support for the newly announced Adobe Flash Player with H.264 video and AAC+ audio. This support will be phased into Flix Pro and Flix Standard this fall. Details of how to upgrade your existing software will be provided soon. You

  • Adam Mercado

    August 24, 2007 at 6:55 am

    Hey Craig

    Do you have any info regarding this statememnt? Where can I find out how to do this, or if and when it is necessary? I use Episode for my encoding and despite it being a bit ‘thinner’ than Cleaner, I like how quick and stable it is compared to the latter. If you are familiar with Episode, do you know if it embeds profile? Not at work machine right now…

    “I believe H.264 (MPEG4) can have the profile embedded in it so there’s no gamma shift between Mac and PC. I have no idea if this is viable with the new Flash Player though. ”


  • Ben Waggoner

    August 25, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    One thing to bear in mind is that H.264 encodes can be a lot more expensive to decode than equivalent VP6 or WMV files. While QuickTime exports a complexity-limited H.264 encode that leaves out the features that are slow to decode, this keeps its compression efficiency limited.

    While H.264 as encoded by products like Episode that can do High Profile, multiple reference frames, CABAC entropy encoding, etcetera can be a lot more competitive for quality, you’ll need a lot more MIPS/pixel for decode.

    Also, features like HE AAC for audio aren’t fully supported by QuickTIme (HE AAC @ 44.1 KHz gets played back by QuickTIme as 22.05). And for streaming, Flash will still only support the Flash servers, and won’t be able to connect to Darwin/QTSS, so existing streams using H.264 won’t be compatible.

    The biggest news in this is that Adobe is cutting their dependance on On2 to provide professional-grade video encoding for their platform. But quality and interoperability with the QuickTime/MPEG-4 ecosystem isn’t as profound as initial reports suggested.

    My compression blog:

    My compression class at Stanford:

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