Update: The bits are up and it looks like the Linux players have been updated as well.
Note: The actual download is coming later today, just hold tight. Also, here is my no fluff response.
We're announcing a new update to the Flash Player today code named "Moviestar" and it includes support for the widely used industry standard H.264 codec as well as High Efficiency AAC audio support. The update will also be a part of Adobe AIR. Prior to joining Adobe I thought Silverlight had one upped Flash Video with it's VC-1 web video story. Then when I joined I saw how great competition is because I saw that Adobe wasn't standing still at all, but rather pushing the envelope and making sure users had what they wanted so Flash was the best web video experience possible. I had to bite my tongue when I saw the "Flash is dying" posts from the people who inferred a bit overzealously when YouTube announced support for H.264 and the iPhone. During all of this Adobe was working on the best possible solution for users and I'm excited that we're announcing it today.
What it means for users
We're going to be supporting hardware accelerated, multi-core enhanced full screen video playback and you'll be able to view any H.264 encoded video including MP4 and MOVThe biggest winners in all of this is the end user. H.264 has fantastic video quality and support in the Flash Player means that the most ubiquitous software in the world will be supporting arguably the most popular video standard out there. That means easy, HD-quality video for anyone who wants to watch it on the web. With this update we're going to be supporting hardware accelerated, multi-core enhanced full screen video playback and you'll be able to view any H.264 encoded video including MP4 and MOV. Not only will your video look better, it's going to perform better also. In short, Flash Video is going to be one of the absolute best video experiences you can have. I think this is going to help push video on the web into the HD generation.
What it means for content creators
This is also a big win for those of you who are creating all of this cool web content. You'll now be able to encode your video in an extremely open, widespread codec and have it run on almost every machine on the web. Flash Player 9 went from 0 to 84.3% penetration in a matter of
3 9 months. I think it's over 90% now which in 12 months is fantastic. Now that this update is available, you can start having your users upgrade which allows you to give them HD-quality video. You can also tap into the huge ecosystem around the H.264 codec. Our tools like Adobe Premier Pro and Adobe After Effects support H.264 encoding right now. Because Flash Player supports playback of any H.264 encoded video you can leverage both your existing video assets that you've encoded as well as the entire spectrum of tools and infrastructure that support H.264. It has never been easier to create video content for the Flash Player.
This is a great thing for web video. When you combine a great format like H.264 and a runtime like Flash good things are going to happen. I can't wait to see the web embrace HD-quality video.