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Adobe Releases Public Beta of Flash Player 10

Also cool was the new text engine that enabled functions like anti-aliasing, rotation and vertical, bi-directional and right to left fonts, which seem ideal for e-Books and more interactive online publication (see Figure 3 below).

Figure 1
Figure 3. Flash Player 10 features a new text engine.

To ensure that the new 3D and custom effects don’t slow down the overall display rate of the Flash application, Adobe expanded the types of effects that could be handled by the graphics card. As you may recall, Flash Player 9 was the first that could hand off video playback to the graphics card, allowing higher quality, full screen playback. In Flash Player 10, other functions, including compositing and combining images and filters, can be assigned to the graphics processing unit (GPU).

So What About Video?
The release wasn’t totally devoid of video-related offerings, as the new player will also support dynamic streaming with a future update to the Flash Media Server. Like Microsoft’s Multiple Bitrate technology, this will allow the server to monitor changing line conditions and change to a lower bitrate video stream if necessary to ensure continuous playback. Unlike Microsoft’s implementation, however, which includes multiple streams in one file (hence the multiple bitrate moniker), Adobe’s implementation will likely involve separate files, adding a bit to the administrative burden of encoding and keeping track of the files.

Overall, the new beta has multiple features that will have far-reaching effects. The big question, of course, is when will they start to be felt. Flash Player adoption seemingly occurs faster with each new release, with the previous update to Flash Player 9 that enabled H.264 playback achieving a reported 62% penetration in less than three months. By the time you figure out how to implement and more importantly profitably utilize these new features, the installed base will likely be ready.

Adobe Flash Player 10 is available for download here.

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