The current version of Adobe Flash at 10.1 offloads some of the internet video rendering to the GPU, but not all of it. Flash 10.1 offloaded H.264 decoding to hardware, and now in the next iteration at 10.2, now in beta, Adobe is moving the entire video rendering pipeline to the GPU.
This means that the video hardware will take care of video decode as well as color conversion, scaling, and blitting. With this sort of load put on the GPU, this means that CPU utilization for even 1080p video will be almost nothing.
This is thanks to a new API called Stage Video, which is already being used in Google TV for playback of HD Flash videos.
Stage Video works across different browsers and platforms and will work with all existing video and SWF files.
The current beta is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. Windows users get the bonus of Internet Explorer 9 hardware acceleration support.
Of course, we don't recommend anyone other than developers and the most adventurous of users to install this until it's out of beta.