Adobe releases Moviestar beta for Flash Player 9

Adobe Systems’s upgrade for its Flash Player, released on Tuesday, adds support for one of the latest video encoding standards as well as new audio support.

The upgrade, called Moviestar, applies to Adobe’s latest Flash Player, version 9. A beta of the upgrade will be available for download later in the day, with a final version to be ready in the third quarter, Adobe said.

Moviestar supports the playback of video encoded using the H.264 standard, which allows for greater compression of video files than previous standards while maintaining quality. Adobe already supports H.264 encoding in products such as Premiere Pro and the After Effects video editing software. Moviestar also includes High-Efficiency AAC support, an improved audio compression technology.

Although the complete specifications of the upgrade are complicated, Adobe has tried to stick to industry standards as users sort through a range of available video technologies, wrote Tinic Uro, an Adobe engineer who works on the Flash Player, on his blog.

“We wanted to make sure that we would offer the best possible choices to them and set a signal that we are willing to embrace industry standards,” Uro wrote. “No one believed that we would make this happen.”

Flash Player 9 upgrade uses the MPEG-4 specifications, a group of audio and video standards, according to Uro. That should calm people’s fears that their content won’t become “obsolete and unsupported” at some point, he wrote.

Adobe dominates video on the Web, with sites such as YouTube.com using its Flash player. But Microsoft is seeking a broader share of the video marketing, shipping its Silverlight 1.0 platform last month, which consist of a set of tools and a browser plugin for delivering video and other rich media over the Web.

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