H.264 in Flash

Man, did I call this one: Adobe Labs have released a beta update of Flash Player 9 that incorporates H.264 playback. Finally the video wars are over, and we have a winner: It’s not Flash, it’s not Quicktime, it’s not Windows Media, and it’s not DivX/XviD – it’s H.264.

For once, this is the right outcome. With YouTube encoding their entire back-catalogue as H.264 for iPhone and Apple TV, it’s been clear for months that they must be heading to the same codec on the main site. Now we know how – still in Flash.

What’ll be interesting to see is how they’re encapsulating the video. Done right, it might be viewable with either the Flash or Quicktime plugins, but Adobe’s initial demo embeds a Flash-only .swf file.

Still, this is great news. Around the end of the year we should start seeing a huge jump in quality for online video.

[update: They’re claiming it’ll play .mp4 and .mov. Wooohoo! See also this; .m4v (iPod/iTunes/AppleTV format), .3gp (mobile phone H.263), and so on.]

[update 2: here’s the full developer blah. Looks peachy so far.]

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