Adobe’s pushing hard with hardware acceleration and for good reason: using the GPU takes a serious load off the CPU, which Flash is pretty hard on at the best of times, especially on Mac OS X. Adobe hopes to address those concerns with today’s release of Flash 10.2 beta and the arrival of a new feature called Stage Video.
The idea behind Stage Video is that it’ll enable hardware acceleration of the whole video rendering pipeline, and as a result, decrease CPU load by up to 85%. If that’s not enough to get excited about, Adobe claims that Stage Video will make Flash player best-in-class for playback performance of video, with higher frame rates, reduced memory usage, and higher video quality with greater pixel fidelity. To the end-user Stage Video means faster and smoother video playback on the Web, and most importantly, Flash video will no longer slow your computer to a crawl.
Another addition in the 10.2 update is hardware acceleration support for Internet Explorer 9, which takes advantage of the native acceleration hooks available in IE9 for rendering surfaces. Support for full screen mode with multiple monitors has also been improved, now allowing you to keep video in full screen mode on one monitor while still being able to use the other for something useful rather than a blank, black screen reminiscent of a chalk board. Native custom mouse cursor support has also been integrated into Flash player, which will be useful for mouse-orientated Flash-based games.
Adobe reckons that Stage Video will bring “native video performance” to the desktop, and therefore could be an important step in the war with HTML5 video tagging. Grab the latest beta of Flash player 10.2 for Windows, OS X and Linux from the Adobe beta labs — and then check out Adobe’s Stage Video YouTube demo, which has already begun leveraging the new Flash technology.