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Fittingly, Flash Video Dies a Slow, Stuttering Death

11.22.11 @ 4:44PM Tags : , , ,

In case you missed it, 2011 is not only the year that the predominant acquisition medium for motion pictures, celluloid, died — it is also the year that Flash video, the predominant distribution medium for internet video, bit the dust. Yes, film and flash will be around for years, but active development on both are dead, and instead of a bright future their outlook is none more black. In the case of Flash the death knell sounded when Adobe announced they were killing off the mobile version of Flash and then adding Flash on TVs to the dead pool as well. HTML5 FTW.

Just today Google enabled 1080p HTML5 playback on youTube (join the HTML5 trial here), and they’ve also released a conversion tool to allow for conversion from Flash Pro animations to HTML5 (if it works flawlessly I’d be shocked, though). HTML5 is undeniably the future, but is it ready? On my Hackintosh, 1080P HTML5 video looks great, but the controls are sometimes buggy. Of course, HTML5 is about more than straightforward video. And Adobe is openly acknowledging HTML5 is the future:

The decision to stop development of the Flash Player plugin for mobile browsers was part of a larger strategic shift at Adobe. One which includes a greater shift in focus toward HTML5, as well as the Adobe Creative Cloud and the services that it provides.

This can be seen as a victory for Apple, who famously banned Flash on iOS in favor of HTML5. There’s even a movement called Occupy Flash, whose goal is to rid the world of Flash by asking users to uninstall the plugin.

So, what do you say? Will you miss Flash video at all, or good riddance?


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Description image 42 COMMENTS

  • i’m a little confused as per the relationship between flash as a video platform and flash [software] animations. does this mean we are expected to not see anything made with flash anymore or the software will live on and will export to a diff format?
    thanks for any clarifications

    • Flash will live on despite the cheering from Apple Fan Boys. It’s still the best tool for Mobile App development, Cartoon 2D animation, and has the tooling and support that HTML5 lacks.

      • Exactly. All the vector animation and interactive script functionality of Flash is AWESOME, and has no serious competition.

        Flash video, however, was an aberration from Flash’s focus and a terrible idea (unfortunately, crap floats). I get the feeling that those who call for the death of the Flash plugin are in the camp of utter idiots who went and converted actual high quality/low filesize Flash animations to low quality/high filesize Flash video for YouTube. Idiots who now plan to convert such beautifully efficient files to bloated HTML5-compliant video…

  • looks like the mobile platform of flashplayer is killed off. yes, you are right, that affects everything that is built in flash, video, animations, interactive widgets. all of those that run on the mobile platform. for the desktop however, there has been no such announcement, but as engadget says, “the company will continue to work on Flash Player for desktop operating systems, but one can’t help but see the platform as a whole standing on fairly shaky footing at this point.”

  • Koo, your Apple fanboyism knows no bounds.

    You forgot to mention Occupy HTML5, you forgot to mention why so many animation and video files have died before, and during the era of Flash Video. No audio. Any professional worth his or her salt knows that audio os half the production. HTML5 has no audio standard at all. The video standard is still up in the air for HTML5, but like a dozen file formats prior, no mention or discussion at all on audio formats.

    Flash video has Audio included. HTML 5 is dead as a video format until it can produce a 100% accepted video standard and a 100% accepted audio standard.

    Try to report on real news, instead of fighting Steve’s hissy fit fight against Adobe that actually stems from Steve being butthurt over Adobe releasing software on Windows before OSX. His tantrum has already hurt iPhone and iPad sales (I know many people who have purchased Android over iPad for Flash games and Flash video). Before the Apple religious followers start claiming iPhone and iPad is the biggest selling in their markets. iPhones sell half the number of Android phones, and that will worsen next year with a predicted one third of the sales Android will sell. iPhones are number two in the US market after Samsung smart phones currently. iPads are still outselling Android, but that will probably change next year in this very young market. In a few years Apple will not be the number one seller in tablets either. Worldwide, Apple is a joke. All these figures are for USA, the Apple heartland. The rest of the world has been ignored by Apple for decades, and have a pathetic market share because of it. Unfortunately, real hard facts do not deter Apple fanatics, or stop them from regurgitating lies. I expect howls of indignation about this post.

    • What is impressive about the Android out-selling the iPhone? You are comparing an operating system to a single phone – not surprising at all. In case you missed it, Apple is reported as being the most valuable company (not just in the US, but in the entire world)… how is Apple a joke?

      • You missed the fact that Apple was only the highest selling smartphone if you ignored the rest of the world and concentrated on USA only figures.

        Now note the past tense? Now in the American market, Samsung is currently the number one smartphone manufacturer, and Apple is now number two. This is after only a couple of years competing directly with Apple. Next year? Is apple going to be number three or number four?

        • Why are you just focusing on smart phones? And you are comparing a company that makes dozens of different models to a company that makes one. And still… how does this mean that Apple is a joke? And by ‘past tense’ I hope you realize I am also referring to THIS YEAR. And a last word about phones: It’s hard to impress me when it takes 4 years to make a phone almost as good as the iPhone.

    • Dude, Lay off and get a grip. This is Koo’s freakin website, so who cares if he prefers apple over windows or red over any other camera brand or whatever!? He doesnt have to cater to every preference you have. just accept the great resource of information he’s already offered and be grateful. Oh yea, and leave the snarky rants out of it.

      • Lay off and get a grip, this is boybunny’s comment, who cares if he prefers Flash to ht-whatever…he doesn’t have to cater to your preference, just accept his opinion as HIS opinion and be grateful…oh yeah, stop telling people what to think

      • I expect at least a modicum of even handed reporting. Evangelism for specific products, especially when the product is neither dead nor dying, is best left for places that attract 13 year olds like Reddit and 4Chan.

        So the question is if Koo wants some form of journalistic integrity, or a fan site that may dry up if Apples fortune in the market disappears in the next year.

      • Im not telling anyone what to think. just saying that koo should be allowed to offer some of his insight on these subjects without people going off on him about being a “fanboy” of _________.

    • Yes, I am Apple fanboy. That’s why I link to my own post about Apple’s dickishness, that’s why I link to a post questioning if HTML5 is ready, and that’s why I run a contract-breaching Hackintosh. All because my love for Apple knows no bounds.

      • Koo,

        Your response should have had some overt signs that it was meant as sarcasm, since the fandroid member(s) above may have totally missed it…

    • I must respond here, as the post really screams for a response.

      Koo talks about Adobe publicly announcing their cessation of development of mobile browser plug-ins (for Android, as they never did anything for other mobile OSes yet). In his article, he doesn’t even provide his own opinion on this (whether it is “good riddance”, or “I’ll miss it”), but mentions a prominent “Occupy Flash” movement, as well as even more prominent Jobs statement.

      Then we get this most passionate reaction, talking about some quite unrelated subjects, spending most of the post arguing over market share of some mobile phone brands (Samsung, Apple), which were not really the subject of this post. It is clear that the poster is a very devoted fan of Android platform (or perhaps a very intense hater of Apple and its products), which makes his post very difficult to take seriously.

      So, ignoring vast majority of it (due to its emotional tone, as well as irrelevance), I’ll focus on the few inaccuracies related to HTML5.

      First, as Koo’s links in the article explain, HTML5 is still not officially ratified as a standard. While most features have been implemented by most browser makers, it is still a moving target. That being said, HTML5 supports any audio/video formats that browser is able to play. If browser maker choose to implement MPEG decoding, then it will play back MPEG-2, MPEG-4, both video and audio components of them (MP3, AAC, H.264, etc). Firefox is widely known as an exception, as it natively does NOT support MPEG playback, due to the licensing requirements by the MPEG-LA group (Mozilla foundation simply can’t affort millions of US dollars for those licenses, while Apple, Google, MS, Opera and others can). Nothing inside HTML5 specifies audio and video codecs. The technology will handle anything that the browser supports. This is how HTML5-based video playback wrappers have been working both on Vimeo and YouTube (they both had support for HTML5 for quite some time now).

      You really need to try and not allow your personal emotions towards a platform (Apple) a person (Jobs) or a technology (HTML5) cloud your judgement. Your post is filled with inaccuracies you so quickly assign to others (although in your post, you call them lies; no less incorrectly, though).

    • Actually, you’re correct what you’re saying :)
      Am sure there are plenty who are going to agree. Such is technology and politics….

  • I have no clue why everybody hates flash so much! I have never had any problems with it. You heard me. I don’t see how anybody could function on the internet without flash… unless I’m an idiot, the vast majority of, well, everything runs on Flash. I have no problem with it eventually being replaced, but I don’t like all this hateful animosity!

    • Okay, just tried the HTML5 video player on YouTube. Cannot stand it, changed back literally after five seconds. Ugly and far from fully-functional. Let’s wait for HTML5 to reach its full potential before we replace the, you know, already widely-adapted and fully-functional standard that’s been used all over for years and all.

  • Flash is still going to be around for a few more years, because IE 6, IE 7, and IE 8 still make up 27.5% of the browsing audience and since those browsers don’t understand HTML5 at all, you still have to feed Flash video to them and WILL have to feed Flash video to them for the next few years. People take forever to upgrade their browsers!

    Right now the best option is to use an mp4 video combined with an API like Flowplayer or JWplayer as those have good detection ability and can serve the mp4 to an HMTL5 device, or serve the mp4 through the Flash player for non-HTML5 browsers.

    Most people don’t understand much about HTML5 and they mistakenly lump it together with CSS, AJAX, and jQuery, but it’s basically a few new tags like video and audio, but the rest of it relies heavily upon JavaScript to even work.

    People love to harp on Flash as a plug-in, but JavaScript is also a plug-in. Yes, it is a plug-in! The Web would be a much safer place to roam if people turned JavaScript “OFF” in their browsers, but then most HTML5 sites dependent upon JS (or jQuery) would cease to function.

    Quite honestly, coming from a programmer’s perspective… the world sees HTML5 as something new, but for web developers it’s not anything new but a few tags and us going back to JavaScript coding. HTML5 is just means developers are being forced to go backwards in time to the 1990′s of JavaScript programming. And despite all of the the HTML5 hype, the loss of high-level code like AS3 is not exciting for developers.

    • That’s right! Not only is Java Script a plugin just like Flash, but it follows the same ECMA standards as Flash’s Action Script language.. Making them virtually identical!

      • Follows ECMA standards yes, but they are certainly not identical. Actionscript is closer to Java, whereas JavaScript is a slower, less extensible language that really wasn’t designed to be an application language. Most seasoned programmers do not like working with JavaScript. They view it as a low-level, junk language.

        The other major difference is security. JavaScript is easily accessible on the client-side and is a security problem magnet. People would be a lot safer on the Web if they just unchecked JavaScript off in their browsers.

  • “Adobe announced they were killing off the mobile version of Flash”

    That’s not entirely true. Adobe won’t create a PLUGIN for mobile BROWSERS (and then only after Android’s latest ICS).

    Flash can and will continue to be used to create mobile apps, even if/when HTML5 catches up with Flash’s capabilities… which will take years considering how long it’s taken for HTML to get to this point.

  • i really hate the html5 youtube player but the black one looks really sleek and nice

  • Reading this re-enforces one thing. Steve Jobs knew how to alienate people and create a giant rift in technology. (that’s it for my Apple rant)
    Flash will be still be around for the heavy lifting such as interactive media & complex or random animations. Yes HTML5 will eventually take over and will eventually be better (I would assume). This will take another 4-5 years to be fully developed and then integrated to the point that Flash is today. But as of now HTML5 has not “Occupied Flash” – that is but a fanboy’s wet dream.

  • What do you all think this means for those of us with cs 5.5 master collection and all of its flash building programs?

    • Flash in CS6 (I’ve seen it) will essentially be the same, but will have the added ability to export to HTML5, however, the big catch is that those HTML5 animations will be “super simple”. Most Flash developers will develop less for web sites and shift more towards app development with AIR and game development with Stage3D.

  • Adobe Edge is looking pretty exciting for animations and interactivity. The lack of sound is a serious shortcoming, but otherwise I really like it and I wouldn’t be surprised if it replaced Flash in a lot of areas.

    • Right now Edge does notwork with IE 6, IE7 and IE 8, which is still 27.5% of the browsing audience. I had a glimpse of Flash CS6 and the exports from Flash to HTML5 will only be as limited functions and the animations will be “super simple” ones. In other words, no matter the hype about HTML5 being better than Flash, it is literally going to take several years before HTML5 even gets close to the interactive and animation abilities of Flash. I have my doubts that it will even get that far as slow as the W3C standards move.

      Everyone is placing a lot hope and unrealistic expectations on HTML5 that it (JavaScript for the most part) is simply not going to be able to deliver. I have yet to see an HTML5 site that is even half as good as even the most basic Flash site in terms of animation or interactivity. A year from now, after the hype dies down, the full truth about HTML5 limitations will be self evident.

  • The Occupy Flash ‘movement’ is not rooted in reality. They’re asking people to voluntarily cut off access to 80% of the web’s rich media content in hopes of forcing the adoption HTML5 by the enitre web community. People don’t even want to update their browser to the current version, and they’re trying to force an evolutionary shift in something the average person doesn’t give a shit about. Give it a rest already, it’ll get there.

    A bit of advice for all the people so deeply rooted in the dogma of their chosen platform: Use what works. Know your user. If your demo is an aged 18-35 mobile browser, maybe the choice is html5. If you’re developing a highly interactive rich media site, requiring precise control of video and audio, and it doesn’t need to work on an iPhone, maybe it’s Flash.

    By demonizing any one platform you’re not moving the internet forward, you’re holding back.

    • Here here! Thank you!

      I’m tired of the blind “flash is evil” crud that gets spread through out the web world. Poorly built and user unfriendly flash is bad, and unfortunately due to the ease of doing “cool things” with flash many of the public facing sites out there reinforce the “flash is evil” mentality.

      Flash is a very powerful tool, when used correctly. Not all situations need flash. HTML5 has a lot of promise but let’s be honest here… Most of what gets touted as new HTML5 awesomeness is a bunch of empty DIVs with rounded corners and box-shadows being animated by Javascript. Which to be honest is just as bad as poorly built flash.

      This is akin to saying that CGI is better than shooting with a real camera… Different tools for different tasks that sometimes get misused.

    The movement to rid the world of HTML purism

  • Haha, that’s awesome!

  • There is a very valid reason both for Steve Jobs’s rant against Flash, as well as the “Occupy Flash” movement (as extreme and misguided as it may be).

    The problem is this. Flash grew out of a very useful tool to deliver vector-based animated content to web browsers while using relatively small files. This came out of necessity for frugal usage of bandwidth (56k modems anyone?). The technology eventually grew into an entire virtual development platform, with its own complex programming language, while making the development tool extremely easy to use for non-developers. This is the primary reason why Flash is so hated today: vast majority of Flash content (I would venture a guess, over 90%) is ordinary video or animated banner advertising, created by non-programmers, and often not even professional graphic designers or animators. Both of the two types of content could be easily re-created (complete with its functionality) using any other, standards-based, non-proprietary, non-CPU hogging technology (such as JavaScript/AJAX/JQuery, or HTML5, or even ordinary existing standard HTML).

    Adobe’s Flash plug-in is NOT a standard, and is NOT part of a common browser functionality. While JavaScript execution can be manually turned off, it IS built into EVERY standards-compliant browser, while Flash plug-in is property of Adobe, developed by Adobe and sold (for free) by Adobe. It is NOT an open standard.

    The bottom line is, all those massive amounts of web-based video out there was originally shot on DV, HDV, AVCHD or something similar. It was then usually transcoded into MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 (AVC) and wrapped inside Adobe’s FLV container, which was then wrapped inside some Flash-based web player controller. The same video could have easily been encoded into the same MPEG-2 or MPEG-4, then wrapped in some common container (AVI, QuickTIme or similar) and then packaged inside a Java, HTML5 or similar player, without using Adobe’s proprietary technology. It is pretty much common knowledge that Adobe’s Flash plug-in tends to use much more processor resources than when same functionality is implemented using browser’s built-in technology. This is the reason why so many people dislike Flash.

    The final point is this: Adobe has conceded that a consistent implementation of Flash plug-in for mobile devices is not a realistic expectation. They will focus on continuing development of Flash (and plug-in for desktop browser), as well as delivering tools for optimising and compiling Flash projects into native mobile applications. This removes the additional processor-hogging layer that the browser plug-in presents, and still allows developers of Flash-based applications to deliver them to mobile platforms. The most important thing is that Flash will finally take its rightful place as a niche platform for delivery of extremely complex online applications (see, and similar), leaving online video and advertising to platforms more appropriately suited for them. It was about time.

    • Serious developers view JavaScript as an amateur junk language. JavaScript was meant to be a client-side helper and was never meant to be used for large or serious applications. AS3 is still light years ahead of JavaScript. Here’s a recent article from a 15 year veteran that demonstrates why the Steve Jobs promise of HTML5 and jQuery (JavaScript) is failing to deliver

  • I’ll say it for Koo. The overall impression I receive from Koo’s postings is that his objective to NOT be bias, NOT be fair, but maintain…


    Objectively evaluate all claims, propositions, and conclusions

    Be an independent thinker

    Don’t automatically accept and believe what you read or hear

    Carefully analyze the evidence and reasoning presented

    Recognize/spot/detect manipulative emotional appeals, unsupported asumptions, and logical fallacies

    Willing to suspend judgement

    Willing to modify or abandon prior judgements and deeply held false beliefs

    Does not make snap judgements

    Gather and consider the most relevant and updated information on all sides of an issue before taking a position.

    Pick out the true and useful and discard the false and misleading.

    And it helps when someone who may have “been there and done that” can express their opinion as well.

  • Koo, I must say, you’ve created one helluva site; one that causes so much emotional and venomous responses to a single post. Regardless of whatever inaccuracies that exist; people need to realize; you are not necessarily legitimate news and cannot nor should you be held to the “Edward R. Murrow” standard. You are someone who has a deep rooted passion and is sharing it with people at not cost to them. People need to relax, go do THEIR homework based on what you post and you need to FOCUS ON YOUR FEATURE. I’ll be waiting for it. Godspeed Koo. Keep up the good work.

  • “We’ll know Flash is truly dead when Corel buys it.”