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Adobe Upgrades Flash To 'Hi-Def', Better Quality Web Video Coming

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Flash web animations are going hi-def. Adobe (Nasdaq: ADBE) announced it will today release version nine of Flash Player, codenamed Moviestar, containing the H.264 video protocol, an open standard also deployed in Blu-Ray and HD-DVD hi-def video players. It will mean a better quality video experience, theoretically comparable with HD TV. What does that mean for the web? For a start, imagine a hi-def YouTube.

Though Google’s video-sharing network, for example, is as broad as it is deep, video playback can suffer from relatively poor image quality, especially at full-screen; upgrading the Flash video players that power the likes of YouTube, Dailymotion, Vimeo and an increasing number of sites that formerly relied on application-driven video playback opens up the prospect of full-screen, TV-like web video experiences (when backed up by decent broadband speeds). Apple’s QuickTime had already incorporated H.264 support, but the momentum now is in embedded Flash video players; this move should further mark Flash as an attractive format for entertainment providers. Adobe is also adding to Flash 9 High-Efficiency AAC, a version of the audio codec used by iTunes.