Flash gets hardware-accelerated H.264 video

Adobe’s Ryan Stewart reports on H.264 video support in Flash, including hardware acceleration. Another report suggests that Flash will get DRM, but not quickly. Part of the interest of these two reports is that superior video quality and DRM support are key features of Microsoft’s Silverlight, so this represents Adobe’s determination not to get left behind.

Silverlight’s video story is not just about quality. I reported earlier on how Microsoft is wooing media providers with cheap or free hosting, encoding and streaming software. Another facet is that Silverlight allows video content to be used as just another graphics brush, giving programmers great freedom over how it is presented.

Either way, it looks like high quality web video is getting easier to show in the near future. I only wish the BBC would use either Flash or Silverlight for its troublesome iPlayer – I suspect either one would offer a much better user experience.

Playing with a new Smartphone has reminded me of the downside of Flash and other proprietary web content. Its web browser does not support Flash, and in fact even visiting Adobe’s site makes the browser seize up temporarily with a Javascript error. This is the tension between richness and reach. Looks like we are heading for richness.

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