Acording to John Nack (Adobe) the next version of Flash Player (10.2) will be up-to ten times more efficient than previous versions, hopefully making browsing YouTube a less stressing experience.

In addition to decoding the data, [Flash] has to convert YUV data to the RGB colorspace and combine the image with other Flash elements. Then it has to cooperate with another application (web browser) to present the video to the user… It plays linear media files from start to finish while combining the video with a wide array of graphical and interactive elements (buttons, bitmaps, vector graphics, filters), as well as providing network, webcam, and microphone facilities, all programmable via a full-featured scripting language.

The new version of Adobe Flash Player offers a video playback optimised mode called Stage Video

Stage video can leverage complete hardware acceleration of the video rendering pipeline, from video decoding to scaling/blitting, enabling best-in-class playback performance. Stage Video can dramatically decrease processor usage and enables higher frame rates, reduced memory usage, and greater pixel fidelity and quality.

Here is a video showing 10x less CPU usage and I must say we were impressed. Tinic Uro talks about how the improvements have been made by forming two layers. The bottom layer containing the video and top layer is where the Flash goes.

Stage Video requires Flash developers to update the code in video players, so simply updating to the new player won’t automatically improve CPU usage on all sites, but YouTube has already updates its player & others will follow. If you’re a Flash developer and want to start experimenting, check out this tutorial from Lee Brimelow.

Since Steve Jobs banned flash from his platform we have been rooting for flash to go from strength to strength and are very excited about these developments. A Beta can be downloaded for the developer preview release. Adobe hasn’t announced a mobile path for Flash Player 10.2 but we do hope this can be a natural transition for this software.