Apple iPads and iPhones finally get Flash video

Adobe has baked support for Apple's HTTP Live Streaming technology into Flash Media Server 4.5, providing a workaround for Flash video on iOS devices

Media publishers can now stream Flash-based video to iPhones and iPads, Adobe has announced.


Adobe's Flash Media Server 4.5 will allow publishers to stream Flash-based video to iPads and iPhones. Photo credit: James Martin/CNET News

On Thursday, Adobe released Flash Media Server 4.5, which introduces support for Apple's iOS mobile operating system. It does this by letting broadcasters stream Flash-based video content in an Apple-derived format, HTTP Live Streaming (HLS).

Apple's iPhone and other mobile devices are well known for not supporting Flash, so in April Adobe said it had come up with a workaround.

Flash Media Server usually packages video streams using MPEG4 fragments, in the F4F file format. However, the new version adds support for a different protocol, HLS, which Apple created for QuickTime and iOS.

Where the media server system detects a lack of Flash support on the client device, it delivers the content in an MPEG2 stream, using the HLS format. HTML 5-capable browsers also support HLS, so using it makes it easier for broadcasters to reach a wider audience.

The end result is that Flash-based video content can now be delivered to iOS devices by using Apple's technology, in a way that requires almost no extra effort on the part of the publisher. Microsoft has been doing the same thing to get Silverlight-based content onto Apple mobile devices since 2009.

However, the advent of Flash Media Server 4.5 only enables Flash video streaming to iPhones and iPads. Flash-based games, animations and advertisements will still not work on such devices.

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