Adobe adds H.264 video support to Flash

Adobe adds H.264 video support to Flash

When Flash first incorporated video in version 6, they chose the “Spark” Sorenson 3 codec. A good choice, that was the best encoding quality at that time. In the following years, several companies developed encoding algorithms that were clearly higher quality.

Flash 8 then added the On2 VP6 codec, which again delivered higher quality at lower bandwidth.

Because of so many viewers had the Flash plugin, a couple years ago web video encoders found they could encode video into Flash rather than the triplicate of the past (Windows Media, Real, Quicktime).

But with the release of the H.264 standard there was still one more shoe to drop. H.264, as we predicted when we first saw it, will become the standard for web and DVD encoding, due to its unprecendented quality and low bandwidth. Apple talked YouTube into re-encoding videos into H.264 for compatibility with the AppleTV and iPhone.

Adobe has now announced that Flash will handle H.264 video, allowing web encoders both the advantage of the highest possible quality and compatibility with the widest number of viewers on all three platforms. Flash will also play AAC audio, a higher quality codec than MP3.

Adobe is smart- Flash is still everywhere on the web, but if they took a course of ever more proprietary non-standards, Flash would eventually go the way of Real and Windows Media- still out there but I doubt we’ll see any in a couple years. This keeps Flash as a good choice, often the best choice for authoring rich media web experiences.

Tinic Uro, an engineer on the Flash Player, shares some insight here.

Flash Player 9 beta is available now, here.


  1. Frosty 15 years ago

    I think another reason for Adobe to adopt h.264 is they want to protect their hegemony as a video distribution format. Apple talking Google into converting their videos to the open h.264 standard threatened that I think. I’m not sure why Apple doesn’t support Flash on the iPhone or ?TV (at this point at least), but a part of me thinks that Adobe’s probably pulling down some serious royalties.

    In the end, I am glad that large companies support “open” formats – but wonder about their (Adobe’s) motives.

  2. aberracus 15 years ago

    The thing is simply Adobe is the defacto estandar in internet, if Apple let it them, supporting Flash in iPhone and Apple Tv it will only encourage propietary software growth (aka adobe flash), so really Apple is trying to fight the battle for an open web.. Im sure Apple is not doing it because they are heroes, its doing it because they dont want to be in the MS vs Apple fiasco of the ninties.

  3. terry simpson 13 years ago

    So, then, how do you make a movie in FCP, exported via Compressor that can be read by Flash and what is the extension –is it .mov or .flv? Does that mean that my web person can bring it in directly without conversion to .flv?


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