ARTICLE: Flash Without Adobe Flash Player

Flash is making eye-candy on the web. It enabled some applications to interface with browsers. Even movies and clips are streamed online using flash. Dynamic contents are delivered via scripts to flash containers and displayed to the end user in a nice interface.

But did you ever notice why flash has not penetrated nor gained ground in the mobile world? Though it may be actively developed, flash content in the mobile arena is virtually non-existent. And one of the big reasons behind it is battery life. While flash may be dominating media and content delivery, it can dramatically shorten battery life and that would be detrimental to mobile devices.

And since Adobe dominates this arena for a while now, we can have another alternative to Flash -- DivX web player. While Adobe seems to be holding the de facto standard when it comes to flash, it is no longer the lone player in this field.

The DivX HiQ browser plugin (a component of DivX web player) enables playback of flash-based video and it promises better performance, better video quality and most of all better battery life. That is indeed good news for mobile users. We shall soon see if Divx delivers its promise.

There are a lot of limitations to DivX Web Player. Currently, it can only support movies and streaming media. In terms of browsers, Firefox 3.6 is supported while the later Firefox 4 is not and until Google Chrome 9. Starting from Google Chrome 10, the plug-in is no longer compatible. All these deficiencies are tantamount to the technological gaps that DivX Web Player needs to fill.

The browser used is Mozilla Firefox 4.0.1 and the plugins, the latest Flash Player V10.3.181.14 and DivX Web Player The test video, the HD trailer of Iron Man streamed from YouTube at 1080P resolution.

I know the current DivX Web Player is not compatible with Firefox 4, but you can "force" it to be compatible. More on that in another post but this is how the trailer is streamed with DivX in Firefox.

.. while below is the screenshot with the Flash Player plugin.

While the video is streaming, the CPU usage is monitored in the background for comparison in terms of performance. And DivX delivered its promise here. CPU usage with the DivX plugin is lower compared to that with the Flash Player. This, in a larger picture, explains the shorter battery life when using flash based content.

DivX web player still has a lot of room to improve. But on the aspects it covers, like streaming movies or clips, it definitely gives Adobe Flash Player a run for its money.

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