One of the most important new technologies presented at AdobeMAX 2010 is in my opinion “AIR for TV”. Flash Player is now present on multiple screens ranging from desktop to mobile passing by tablet and set-top-boxes.
The TV screen is always been one of the most desired and the availability of Flash on TVs and STBs is a strategic move.
We already knew that Flash will be supported by Google TV and by Sony connected tv but the big new is that starting from now, every connected tv by Samsung (probably the most important tv producer) will support flash and AIR for TV. Not only, in a short time frame we will seen on the market several bluray readers and stb all flash enabled.
Wow, the world of applications for the living room is one of the most promising and “rich”. The income generated by the traditional TV world is still huge and the kind of interactity that a connected tv can assure can only enhance the business giving tailored advertising at a generally untargeted media.
In this scenario Flash is the perfect mate for the big companies who want to create new business model in this market (Sony, Google, Samsung in primis) but has to fight at the same time the power of Apple and his vision. In this context Flash is a tool that assure the availability of millions of developers ready to develop very good applications for new app markets.
The most important features of AIR for TV is the StageVideo. StageVideo can be used instead of the classic Video object when a direct hardware acceleration is desired. Using this object it is possible to access the underlying hardware to accelerate video decoding of H.264. This approach unload the cpu (usually a low power risc processor in STBs) from the video decoding and can guarantee an excellent performance in video decoding. Every supported chipset will be able to decode one or multiple streams in FullHD, any level, any profile at full framerate with out losing one frame.
The drawback is that the video plane will be composited after the stage rendering (StageVideo is not a child of the stage and not belongs to DisplayObject) so you have only a limited amount of control on it.
I think it is a good cost to pay to have a perfect video experience, which is what any viewer want from his tv set.
Fortunately I have an AIR on TV stb so I can start to experiment with this new exciting possibility for flash development. I’ll give you further impression but what I have already seen is awesome.
Here you find detailed information about the new StageVideo API.
I conclude saying that this king of low level control of hw acceleration will be extended by Adobe soon on any platform so you will be able to decode FullHD video in hardware with excellent performance and very very low cpu usage on windows, mac, mobile and tablets. Very exciting days are ahead…