Adobe Releases Flash Update Incorporating H.264

Adobe has released Flash Player 9 Update 3 which includes support for H.264 video, support for which was announced in August.

Adobe Flash Player 9 now includes H.264 standard video support, the same standard deployed in Blu-Ray and HD-DVD high definition video players, and High Efficiency AAC (HE-AAC) audio capabilities. The latest update also features hardware accelerated, multi-core enhanced, full-screen video playback for high-resolution viewing across major operating systems and browsers.

The support for H.264 in Flash will be beneficial for both content producers and end users:
- Better image/sound quality for those content providers that elect to use the H.264 functionality.
- Hardware encoding solutions are available for content producers that can encode at better than realtime.

Though speculative, another future benefit may end up being the ability for mobile and set-top devices like the iPhone and Apple TV to be able have better access to content, as such devices that support H.264 include hardware decoders (for battery life optimization on mobile devices). Apple has stated several times that it heavily values battery life on the iPhone, and may be a key reason why a Flash plug-in has not been developed to date.