Only the other day we were talking about Apple’s new video acceleration API in OS X 10.6.2 and what difference it might make to Adobe’s Flash technology; now we know. The company have pushed out a new beta version of Flash Player called “Gala” which supports GPU acceleration of H.264 content on Macs and MacBooks using NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, GeForce 320M or GeForce GT 330M video chipsets.
In the beta, you can tell whether the video you’re watching is being hardware decoded as a white box will appear in the top left corner. Apple’s own GPU management system decides whether or not to turn on hardware decoding, and according to Adobe’s engineers the system is only intended to deal with HD-quality video; it’s unlikely to activate when viewing standard definition footage.
Current limitations include only two hardware decoding processes running simultaneously at any one time (further videos will use software decoding) and there are some resolutions that don’t work either. However, a polished version of Gala is expected to be rolled up into the official Flash 10.1 release later on.