Definition

Adobe Flash Player

Adobe Flash Player is software used to stream and view video, audio and multimedia and Rich Internet Applications (RIA) on a computer or supported mobile device. Flash Player was originally created by Macromedia, but is now developed and distributed by Adobe Systems Inc.

The latest version of Adobe Flash Player is available for major desktop platforms, inclusing Windows, Linux, Solaris and Mac OS X. The Flash Player plugin can be downloaded for free on recent versions of Web browsers on the aforementioned platforms. Each version of the plugin, whether for Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Chrome or Safari, is backward compatible.

Flash Player runs SWF files, an Adobe Flash file format for displaying "animated" vector graphics on the Web. SWF file formats allow audio, video and several other possible forms of interaction with the end user. Once files are created, they can be played by the Adobe Flash Player, working either as a browser plugin or as a standalone player.

There are a number of mobile operating systems that support Flash Player usage as a standalone application or within an Internet browser. Apple iOS, Android and BlackBerry Tablet OS are among devices that support Flash Player as a standalone application, while operating systems on Maemo, PS3, Pocket PCs and Windows Mobile support usage within an Internet browser.

Flash Player supports several data formats, including XML, JSON, AMF and SWF. Multimedia formats supported by the Adobe Flash Player include mp3, FLV, PNG, JPEG, GIF and RTMP, among others.

The newest version of Adobe Flash Player enables greater security and privacy controls with protected HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS). Other features include webcam support, accelerated graphics rendering, multithread video decoding and improved software encoding for cameras. Versions of Adobe Flash Player can be downloaded for free on Adobe's website and often download automatically on one's Web browser upon release.

Contributor(s): Emily McLaughlin
This was last updated in November 2012
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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