Last Monday at "Flash on the Beach" keynote, I showcased new improvements we have been doing lately with video playback in the Flash Player.

So what happened ?

As you guys may know, we introduced earlier this year Flash Player 10.1 with H.264 GPU decoding on MacOS, Windows and Linux, which already highly improved the CPU usage when viewing H.264 video. But we are going further with dramatic CPU usage reduction in an upcoming version of the Flash Player.

Below is a snapshot of the Activity Monitor using Flash Player 10.1, playing a 1080p video with H.264 GPU decoding enabled :

1080p Video with H.264 GPU decoding

You see that for such a video, CPU is still being used for about 50%, cause the CPU is not totally offloaded, still displaying and scaling the video frames.
Now in the following picture I am using the new feature we will be introducing soon, as you can see the CPU is highly offloaded and playing a 1080p video with around 8% CPU usage.

Note how the memory usage drops down too :

1080p Video with H.264 GPU decoding with latest video improvements.

It gets even better when you start overlaying content on top of the video. Most of Flash websites use a lot of overlayed content on top of the video. In the snapshot below, the CPU usage goes pretty high, cause complex content is on top of my video, the CPU is working on compositing the video frames and the vector content in the display list which is an intensive task :

Overlay compositing before latest video improvements.

By leveraging the upcoming feature, take a look at my CPU usage and memory now, the exact same content with a few lines of code changed :

Overlay compositing after latest video improvements.

Again, this will dramatically improve the video performance in the Flash Player. Note that this feature will be available on Windows, MacOS and Linux, and this new improvement is not restricted to H.264 video or specific video cards vendors, any video frame whatever the codec used will benefit from this.

If you are interested into learning more about this, do not hesitate to meet us at Max.
If you want to try this as soon as possible, just drop me an email.

Update : Note that this feature called StageVideo has been demoed at Max 2010 sneaks, make sure to check the following links : 1, 2

Hope you guys like it!