Adobe has officially released Flash Player 10.2 for Mac, and it's available for download now. However, Power PC Macs of old are not supported in this version.
One of the main new features of Flash Player 10.2 is Stage Video. Building on the H.264 hardware-accelerated decoding found in Flash Player 10.1, Stage Video brings faster and smoother HD video playback while using dramatically less processing power.
Adobe says that testing on supported systems (Mac OS X 10.6.4 and later with integrated graphics cards, such as the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, GeForce 320M and GeForce GT 330M -- click here to find out if your Mac's got what you need), they've found 10.2 to be up to 34 percent more efficient.
We did a quick before & after test using Firefox 4 on a MacBook Pro 3.06GHz with a NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT graphics card. We noticed a marked drop in impact on the CPU with Flash Player 10.2 versus 10.1 -- Firefox's plugin process went from over 60% CPU usage to less than 20% while playing the 720p version of YouTube's demo clip. That's the kind of playback performance improvement that you'll notice... or rather, not notice, as your computer's fan won't spin up to jet turbine speeds anymore as soon as you begin playing a video.
However, developers will have to build in support for Stage Video at the delivery end before end users will see the advantages. Fortunately, Adobe says YouTube, Vimeo, and Brightcove are already hard at work implementing the technology.
Another great new feature of note is multiple display full screen support -- finally, you can watch flash video full screen in one monitor while working on other things in the other.
If you're a Google Chrome user, you may need to disable the built-in version of Flash first before you can install the standalone plugin and see the advantages of the new version.
You can check out all the other details on Adobe's support page and the company's blog post announcing the new version. To go to the download page click here.
If you decide to dive straight into Flash 10.2, let us know how it goes in the comments after the break.
[Via Download Squad]