Adobe has announced that a beta release of Flash Player 10.2 for Windows, Mac, and Linux is now available for download. This beta version introduces several enhancements, namely Stage Video, a new API that delivers cross platform video playback.
Stage Video will help websites deliver video across devices and browsers by enabling access to hardware acceleration of the entire video pipeline with shockingly little processing power. Adobe has worked with hardware vendors to take advantage of the GPU to offload not only H.264 hardware decoding (introduced in Flash Player 10.1), but also the rest of the video rendering pipeline, including color conversion, scaling, and blitting. Adobe, using Stage Video, has seen laptops play smooth 1080p HD video with just over 0% CPU usage. That is pretty amazing, and it has not gone unnoticed. Google TV already takes advantage of Stage Video in Flash Player to deliver 1080p HD video playback on TVs.
For content providers, Stage Video will work with all of the existing video viewed in Flash Player, once they utilize the new API in their video player SWFs, with no changes to their encoded videos or infrastructure required.
Additional enhancments included in Flash Player 10.2 are Internet Explorer 9 hardware acceleration support, enhanced text rendering, a native custom mouse cursors API and support for full screen playback with multiple monitors.