DivX Plus Web Player: Flash Without Adobe
A while back, Steve Jobs posted six reasons why Apple wouldn't support Adobe's Flash-based products on the iPad and iPhone. Those reasons ranged from the software's openness to the fact that it's from a third-party to its effect on battery life. Also listed is the performance of mobile devices playing back Flash-based content. We already spent a lot of time digging into the product's effect on system resources in Adobe Flash: A Look At Browsers, Codecs, And System Performance. If Flash can torpedo the performance of a desktop PC (and it can; we've seen it), just imagine what it could do to a smartphone.
Now, no one is debating the merits of streaming video. Apple simply believes the problem lies in video delivery. That's why it is promoting a new standard known as HTML5 for its mobile devices. However, Apple's overwhelming popularity is one of the factors preventing more widespread adoption. Most Web sites only enable HTML5 content when they detect the iOS user agent. So, if you're cruising the Internet on a PC, HTML5 compliance might not be as relevant right now. That leaves us with a big question mark over the desktop systems (or laptops or netbooks) that still struggle with Flash-based content.
This is where DivX steps in. The company is sidestepping a format war altogether by providing a player that supports HTML5 and Flash-encoded video. For a long time, Adobe's Flash Player was the only game in town able to play back Flash video. But that's in the past. DivX isn't out to trash Flash, but it is out to prove that it can deliver better performance, battery life, and image quality.
How important is Flash, really? If you enjoy following news sites like CNN, you generally have to install Flash to access all of the content. ComScore estimates that roughly 75% of all online video is Flash-based. For better or for worse, Adobe's Flash format is a fact of today's Web surfing experience. Clearly, DivX has a tall order to fill. Let's see how its solution stacks up.