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Jun 12, 2010

Download and Install Adobe's Newest Flash 10.1

Adobe has released their newest flash player and is now available for download. Flash 10.1 touts numerous features and enhancements but the most exciting part for me is H.264 video hardware decoding which offloads the rendering process to all available hardware like your shining new video card and not be limited to the available memory and CPU power. This feature would probably what most people will notice especially those who watch flash videos online or play flash intensive games like those found on Facebook.

Full release notes after the break.

 == Support for new platforms ==

Flash Player 10.1 is available for a broad range of platforms, including netbooks and other Internet-connected devices, allowing your content to reach your customers virtually wherever they are. As with Flash Player 10, this release also supports Windows® 7 and Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) desktop operating systems.
The consistent Flash Player browser-based runtime is the most productive way to deliver content to users across operating systems and devices. Runtime consistency helps reduce the cost of creating, testing and deploying content across different device, software, network, and user contexts, and helps improve business results.

 == Designed for mobility ==

To make it possible to deploy SWF content on smartphones and other mobile devices that have limited processing power and memory availability compared to PCs, a tremendous amount of work has gone into to making Flash Player 10.1 “ready for mobility”. This work includes performance improvements, such as rendering, scripting, memory, start-up time, battery and CPU optimizations, in addition to hardware acceleration of graphics and video. Improvements in memory utilization and management, start-up time, CPU usage, and rendering/scripting performance benefit PCs as well as mobile devices.

Multi-touch and gestures
Developers can take advantage of the latest hardware and operating system user interaction capabilities using new ActionScript® 3.0 APIs for multi-touch and native gesture events. Create multi-touch aware content for a wide range of devices as well as multi-touch capable PCs running Microsoft Windows 7. Interact with multiple objects simultaneously or work with native gestures, such as pinch, scroll, rotate, scale, and two-finger tap. (Adobe is actively working with its partners to enable multi-touch on additional desktop platforms.)

H.264 video hardware decoding
Flash Player 10.1 introduces hardware-based H.264 video decoding to deliver smooth, high quality video with minimal overhead across mobile devices and PCs. Using available hardware to decode video offloads tasks from the CPU, improving video playback performance, reducing system resource utilization, and preserving battery life.

 ==Developer productivity ==

Global error handler
The new Actionscript 3.0 global error handler enables developers to write a single handler to process all runtime errors that weren’t part of a try/catch statement. Improve application reliability and user experience by catching and handling unexpected runtime errors and present custom error messages. When using the global error handler in a SWF running in the debug player, error pop-ups will not be shown.

Globalization support
New ActionScript 3.0 globalization APIs allow Flash Player to use the values chosen in the operating system preferences to process text and lists and present information based on location context, without any knowledge of locale requirements. Choose a specific format independent of the currently selected locale on the operating system. Locale specific information and processing can include: date, time, currency and number formatting; currency and number parsing; string comparison for sorting or searching for text; and upper/lower case conversions.

 == Enhanced browser integration ==

Flash Player 10.1 offers enhanced conformance to consistent browser usability guidelines, helping to ensure optimized user experiences and improved user control over privacy.

Browser privacy mode (desktop only)
To help protect user privacy, Flash Player 10.1 adds support for the “private browsing” mode found in many web browsers. In private browsing mode, Flash Player will not save any information (local storage, or local shared objects) to a user’s computer. Since the browser also does not remember any history while in private browsing mode, this allows users to hide their activity from other users sharing the same machine. This feature is supported in Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer. To learn more about private browsing, refer to this article.

Out-of-memory management
Flash Player 10.1 prevents resource-intensive content from depleting system memory by shutting down instances where a SWF attempts to allocate more memory than is available. When a SWF tries to allocate more memory than is available, Flash Player 10.1 adds logic to shut down Flash Player to prevent the browser from crashing. Users will receive notification to restart the SWF, or will see a notice to refresh the page if all instances must be shutdown.

 == Expanded options for high-quality media delivery ==

Flash Player 10.1 includes a number of media quality of service improvements and is ready to take advantage of upcoming Adobe media servers that will provide new ways to deliver rich media experiences and create new business models. With new HTTP streaming and content protection features, premium audio and video content can be delivered within the browser more securely. Streaming performance is enhanced with improved support for live events, buffer control and peer assisted networking.

Content protection (desktop only; output protection Windows only; requires Adobe Flash Access 2.0 SDK)
Media protected using the upcoming Adobe Flash Access 2.0 SDK can be played back securely in Flash Player 10.1 to support a wide range of business models, including video-on-demand, rental, and electronic sell-through, for streaming as well as download. Using industry-standard cryptography, Adobe Flash Access 2.0 and Flash Player 10.1 provides a robust environment to protect content so it remains safe from tampering or capture throughout its lifecycle. Flash Player 10.1 supports output protection on Windows, enabling content providers to specify requirements for protection of analog and digital outputs, providing additional safeguards against unauthorized recording. Note: Encrypted content cannot be hardware accelerated in this release of Flash Player.

Peer-assisted networking (requires “Stratus” on Adobe Labs,
The RTMFP protocol now supports groups, which enables an application to segment its users to send messages and data only between members of the group. Application level multicast provides one (or a few) -to-many streaming of continuous live video and audio live video chat using RTMFP groups.

HTTP streaming
HTTP streaming enables delivery of video-on-demand and live streaming using standard HTTP servers, or from HTTP servers at CDNs, leveraging standard HTTP infrastructure and SWF-level playback components. The addition of HTTP streaming will enable expanded protocol options to deliver live and recorded media to Flash Player, including full content protection for HTTP streamed video with Flash Access 2.0.

Stream reconnect (requires FMS 3.5.3 server)
Stream reconnect allows an RTMP stream to continue to play through the buffer even if the connection is disrupted, thereby making media experiences more tolerant of short term network failures and enabling non-disruptive video playback. When a connection is re-established the stream resumes playback. Developers can add re-connection logic in ActionScript to re-establish server connection and resume streaming without any disruption in the video.

Smart seek (requires FMS 3.5.3 server)
Smart seek allows you to seek within the buffer and introduces a new "back" buffer so you can easily rewind or fast forward video without going back to the server, reducing the start time after a seek. Smart seek can speed and improve the seeking performance of streamed videos and enable the creation of slow motion, double time, or “instant replay” experiences for streaming video.

Buffered stream catch-up
Buffered stream catch-up allows developers to set a target latency threshold that triggers slightly accelerated video playback to ensure that live video streaming stays in sync with real time over extended playback periods.

Fast switch (requires FMS 4 server)
The Dynamic Streaming capability introduced in Flash Player 10 and FMS 3.5 is enhanced to improve switching times between bitrates, reducing the time to receive the best content quality for available bandwidth and processing speed. Users no longer need to wait for the buffer to play through, resulting in a faster bitrate transition time and an uninterrupted video playback experience, regardless of bandwidth fluctuations.

Microphone access (desktop only)
Access binary data of the live and continuous waveform coming from the microphone to create new types of audio applications, such as audio recording for transcoding, karaoke, vocoder voice manipulation, sonographic analysis, pitch detection, and more.