The HTML5 <video/> element is slowly but surely being supported by Firefox, Safari and Chrome. Youtube and Vimeo are experimenting with the open standard as well. But browser based video still relies, de facto, on the Adobe Flash Player. So here's how to make Flash suck less at high definition (720p/1080p) full screen video.
High definition video playback requires a lot of processing power but it's also an embarrassingly parallel task. If the machine has a dedicated graphics processing unit (GPU), either Nvidia or ATI, then Flash 10.1 beta 2 or later can use the GPU's massive power to decode H.264 high definition video. This reduces the load on the CPU and enables smooth full screen high definition video playback.
Upgrading Flash Player
- Uninstall the old Flash player through the Control Panel > Programs > Uninstall a program
- Download Flash Player 10.1 beta 2 or later from Adobe Labs.
- Close Firefox and Chrome
- Run the Flash Player setup
Upgrading Graphics Drivers
- Download the latest drivers for your GPU. ATI Catalyst 9.12 or later, or the Nvidia drivers 195 or later.
- For laptops with an ATI Mobility GPU use the Driver Modder utility to patch the Catalyst drivers.
- Uninstall your old drivers through Control Panel > Programs > Uninstall a program
- Install the new drivers
Now compare the CPU usage in the Windows Task Manager. Even on a modest dual core laptop CPU usage should not go over 30-40%. Without hardware acceleration the frame rate would have been choppy with CPU usage completely maxing out one core. So enjoy watching silky smooth 1080p videos in the browser!