Adobe releases Flash Player 9 with H.264 video support

Adobe today announced the immediate availability of Adobe Flash Player 9 Update 3 software, previously code named Moviestar. 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 combination of Adobe Flash Player 9 and Adobe Flash Media Server 3 (also announced today) enables the delivery of HD quality video to the broadest online audience.

MacDailyNews Note: H.264 is the next-generation video compression technology in the MPEG-4 standard, also known as MPEG-4 Part 10. H.264 can match the best possible MPEG-2 quality at up to half the data rate. H.264 also delivers excellent video quality across the entire bandwidth spectrum — from 3G to HD and everything in between (from 40 Kbps to upwards of 10 Mbps). More info about H.264 here.

H.264 support is now integrated across the Adobe Flash family of products. Support extends to applications developed for Adobe AIR software, a cross-operating system application runtime that enables developers to use their existing skills to build and deploy rich Internet applications (RIAs) to the desktop. Expected to be available in early 2008, Adobe Media Player, the first application from Adobe built on Adobe AIR, will leverage both H.264 video and HE-AAC audio support. Adobe Media Player takes Flash streaming video experiences outside the Web browser delivering more viewing options, such as watching videos anytime, anywhere.

“ features an extensive and continuously updated video library of breaking news, high-profile interviews and compelling segments from news programs throughout the day,” said Jeff Misenti, vice president and general manager, FOX News Digital, in the press release. “Collaborating with Adobe allows us to enhance the viewer experience and meet the growing demand for Web video in high-definition.”

Since H.264 and HE-AAC are open industry standards and already integrated into existing authoring and publishing workflows, content producers can leverage their existing H.264 material and seamlessly play back the native content in Adobe Flash Player. This enables publishers to encode content once and then distribute it to multiple mediums, resulting in the potential for reduced costs and time savings.

Adobe Flash Player 9 is immediately available as a free download for Macintosh, Linux, and Windows.

More info and download links here.


Back in January, The New York Times’ John Markoff interviewed Apple CEO Steve Jobs who said in reply to a Flash on iPhone question, “You don’t need to have Flash to show YouTube. All you need to do is deal with YouTube. And plus, we could get ‘em to up their video resolution at the same time, by using H.264 instead of the old codec.”

Apple prompted Adobe to support H.264 in Flash either directly or indirectly.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Adam W.” for the heads up.]


  1. Thanks for posting this. Now with the new Adobe Flash 9 player update, it should get interesting for media (video and audio) which is available in MPEG 4 format. It should also help to wean people off larger MP3 audio files by instead using HE-AAC MPEG 4 audio files in the popular .m4a container format that Apple already uses. Hopefully Apple will add HE-AAC support to their AAC audio files in iTunes, iPods, Apple TV, and the iPhone.

  2. Has anyone successfully installed it? …After completing the installation, the Flash version is still the old one (9,0,47,0) instead of 9,0,115,0. This is on a MBP running 10.4.11.

  3. This is great for Apple & web developers!

    I’ve always preferred QuickTime because of the higher quality and cross-platform support. Flash is great because it’s more widespread than QT though. This combo is a WIN for Apple, Adobe and web developers! This, in addition to iPod/iTunes popularity, is helping to keep media from going the way of Microsoft’s proprietary formats. They won the browsers wars, but they’re not winning the media format wars.

    Check out this demo:

    Clean, steams fast, full-screen option.

    PS: Bye-bye REAL.
    PSS: Not sure this will have any bearing on iPhone support, but hope so.

  4. There is a huge problem with Adobe’s implementation of H264. It will not stream from a standards based RTSP streaming server, like Darwin and must stream from their expensive Flash Media Server using their proprietary streaming protocol. I have also heard that they are also using their own extension and forgoing .m4v

    So we are just as screwed as we were before. Why use a standard if you are not going to go all the way? Why would a major video distributor go with this super proprietary model. You know what? They won’t.

  5. Streaming does have some benefits.

    You don’t have to download and plays immediately provided you have good bandwidth.

    Protects content to some extent.

    Great for indexing or making clips from larger movies.

    Live events.

  6. What’s unclear to me is whether this new Flash player will play “raw” H.264 content it runs across on the Internet, intended for Flash or not, or whether it will have to be encapsulated in a Flash container format. Taking advantage of the codec is nice, but if it doesn’t enable you to mix and match playback applications, seems a bit underwhelming.

  7. Comment from: Brandon Petersen
    Be sure to repair permissions after you install this thing. Flash always screws with permissions.

    holy crap brandon! thanks for the heads up on that—my disk utility is having a field day!

  8. I’d hold off on this upgrade until they work all the kinks out of Disk Utility.

    It still doesn’t work right in Leopard…and you ALWAYS have to run Disk utilities after updating Flash…it always mess up permissions, and can hose your system.

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