Blinded by the Flash

Blinded by the Flash

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In marketing video products over the last several years, we often get asked; "do you support the Flash® codec?"

The question refers to the codecs in Adobe® Flash® player.   But many people ask the question without understanding what it is they mean when they ask it.  

The Flash® player has three generations of video codecs. The first generation was H.263, followed by the VP6 codec from ON2 which was added about 2 years ago and more recently the H.264 codec last year.  In the case of Adobe® Flash® LiteTM, they added the Sorenson codec as well. 

I have found that many people seem to believe that Adobe® has their own special codec and that transcoding video requires special algorithms that are required to be compatible.   This is actually not the case.   What is special about Adobe® Flash® player is the framework they incorporate to enable applications and the visual experience of the user.   For a great lecture on this subject, please view Robert Scoble's interview of some members of the Adobe® team.   

I just wanted to set the record straight on this.  (And yes, Dialogic supports H.263 and is about to release H.264)


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  • I actually thought that Flash has its own encoding. As you say, flash video became so popular so quickly because of the fact that works with any internet browsers on any operative systems. Before we had to deal with either Quicktime, Realvideo or WMV. The wide spread flash plug-in made possible to get access to huge amounts of video content embedded in web pages. I would say that this technology is responsible of the explosion of video content and the massively increase of data traffic ISPs have to deal with.