• Adobe Flash 10.2 Out of Beta, Utilizes 'Stage Video'

    Adobe has officially released a major update of its flash player for Mac, version 10.2. The release is significant most notably for its inclusion of what Adobe calls 'Stage Video' technology that is used to utilize GPU hardware acceleration, drastically limiting the plugin's CPU usage.

    It was big news last fall when Apple's newest notebook, the ultra-slim MacBook Air was released without flash, and further testing revealed that installing flash on the tiny device could decrease the battery life to almost half of what was reported by Apple when the computer was released to the public. Hopefully this new flash technology will allow all Mac users, including those with the new MacBook air to utilize flash without worrying about significantly draining their batteries, and without using too much of the computer's memory.

    "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. 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.

    Put another way, Flash Player using Stage Video can effortlessly play beautiful 1080p HD video with just 1-15% CPU usage on a common Mac or Windows computer* - working across platforms and browsers, it will enable the best video experience for the most people."

    The only downside to this update is that websites must update their own video players to use this major update. We can expect major websites such as YouTube should be on top of that in no time at all. This does mean that widespread improvements will take a little bit of time.

    This update comes as a nice improvement, particularly for Mac users. We all know how Steve Jobs feels about Flash, but for those who still rely on it in one way or another, we can all be very thankful for today's update.

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