Flash Player 10.2 Released: Stage Video Is Finally Here – But What Is It?

I can recall Adobe talking about stage video for a long time.   It’s a new feature in Flash Player 10.2 that is supposed to speed-up video layback considerably.   In many ways, this appears to be Adobe’s way of combatting HTML5 Video.  If you are curious, here is what Adobe means when they talk about “stage video”.

Stage video is a new API for Flash and a new feature set in the Flash Player that takes video away from being a standard display object in Flash, and instead treats it as it’s own entity when rendering.  This means that underlying video hardware can be leveraged when playing back a video inside Flash.

This operation has significant advantages, especially on mobile devices because it takes most of the video rendering away from the CPU, which in-turn saves battery life and speed-up playback.

There are some limitations to using “stage video”, and they sound like other limitations we have gotten used to  when working with bitmaps and with packager iOS development. Here are some of them:

  • No rotations allowed
  • No color or 3D transformations allowed
  • No alpha
  • No bitmapdata or bitmap caching
  • On some platforms (mostly mobile) only one video can be playing at a time.
  • Use only wmode=direct when embedding a .swf

Stage video is created with new class type named, appropriately,  StageVideo. What is not clear from Adobe yet is if the API for stage video will be (or already is)  available in the Flash CS5 distributed classes (maybe in an update or in CS5.5?). However,  it is part of the Flex SDK right now though, so you should be able to add those classes to your class path and get started (in theory anyway, we have not tried it)

You can read more about implementing “stage video” here: http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flashplayer/articles/stage_video.html

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