The Evolution of Flash Video

Recently, an overtly negative attitude seems to have arisen towards the use of third-party plugins such as Adobe's Flash Player. Despite this attitude however, leading open-source players, rather than pushing users to abandon Flash in favor of native browser playbacks, seems to still be making use of these third-party plugins, and the reason is fairly simple.

The two key components to any video playback system are a video decoder and an application framework. While HTML5 offers a quality application framework, due to certain limitations, it has not yet developed a working video decoder.

A decade ago, given its superior functionality to HTML, whole websites were being built in Flash. Occasionally however, the disadvantages won out and Flash gave way to Javascript. Flash did not die out however, as it was discovered to be work as a near universal video player among browsers. As a result, when the web video boom took off, YouTube and just about everyone else used Flash as their video player.

Also, until just a couple years ago, Apple products also made use of Flash before suddenly rejecting it in favor of other options. Even companies such as Netflix, who have avoided using Flash, took a similar approach with third-party plugin players. Still, as it turns out, most web videos wind up being played through Flash, despite preferences in programing language. Even the newest version of Video.js, HTML5's player framework, has added a built-in Flash player, and this combination has come with a number of advantages.

One big advantage offered by this new synthesis is that all of the advanced features now only need to be applied one time, whereas before setting up a playlist in HTML5 and Flash required the redundancy of requiring a separate player for each format. Also, various playback methods can all be controlled through the same Javascript API. What this means is that all the configurations, styles, and settings only have to be made once, no matter the number of codecs or devices, absolutely allowing for far easier design and development.

A slightly more subtle advantage, where the internet has already been shifted from Flash to Javascript, video applications are now, finally, doing the same, with more logic being moved from Javascript into Flash. Taking this new approach will also allow for a rather significant optimization of performance. This can be seen in the comparison of the 120kbps required of a full-featured Flash player to the significantly smaller 10kb for Video.js. All of these changes represent a significant advancement for the lasting power of Adobe's Flash video.

So, while Flash may have seen several changes over the last decade, from being a popular application framework in 2002, to being reduced to a simple video playback app in 2007, and into today, to the point that it no longer needs to be a full-featured player, it is certainly not going anywhere. While this still may not be the most ideal arrangement, the far more preferred option of a universal video playback is still years away. Until that day comes though, the current model certainly represents a drastic step up from the traditional Flash player.

Source by Scott Cox

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save & Share Cart
Your Shopping Cart will be saved and you'll be given a link. You, or anyone with the link, can use it to retrieve your Cart at any time.
Back Save & Share Cart
Your Shopping Cart will be saved with Product pictures and information, and Cart Totals. Then send it to yourself, or a friend, with a link to retrieve it at any time.
Your cart email sent successfully :)