“Today Adobe, the San Jose software maker, will announce that it is integrating a standard format for high definition video into the newest version of its immensely popular Flash video player. Flash players currently sit on 98 percent of all desktop computers and hundreds of millions of portable and handheld devices. Sites like YouTube, ABC.com and NBC.com favor Flash over competing players like Apple’s QuickTime and Microsoft’s Windows Media, since Flash is relatively easy to develop for and videos play directly in the browser,” Brad Stone reports for The New York Times.

“Adobe will integrate support for H.264, and for the high-performance AAC audio standard, into the newest version of Flash, available for download today,” Stone reports.

“H.264 is an open standard and the result of an industry consortium. Apple added H.264 support to QuickTime two years ago and has been integrating it throughout its entire line of products this year. Microsoft has its own proprietary high-def standard, called Windows Media VC-9,” Stone reports.

Full article here.

Adobe’s press release here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader "KenC" for the heads up.]

Paving the way for iPhone Flash support? Apple clearly wants widespread H.264 and AAC support. Now the Flash plug-in for iPhone makes sense. In fact, we’d venture to guess that there is a high probability that Apple told Adobe to support H.264 and AAC, if Adobe wanted to get Flash onto the iPhone.

In early July, The Wall Street Journal’s Walter S. Mossberg reported, “At launch, the iPhone version of the Safari browser is missing some plug-ins needed for playing common types of Web videos. The most important of these is the plug-in for Adobe’s Flash technology. Apple says it plans to add that plug-in through an early software update, which I am guessing will occur within the next couple of months.”

Note: The advanced H.264 codec makes it possible for Apple’s QuickTime 7 (released April 29, 2005) to play back high-definition video on a personal computer without additional hardware required. Apple’s HD QuickTime gallery is here.

Adobe is following Apple’s considerable lead here.