Don’t Worry, Flash Won’t End in a Flash

For those that don’t know, Adobe’s Flash player is the number one technology for in-browser streaming. In fact, 99% of all installed browsers support Flash. In recent weeks, however, there’s been a lot of buzz around Adobe Flash, with some news headlines announcing the sudden “End of Flash”. The fact is, we’re not there yet!

Let me clarify the context and explain how Triton Digital is positioned for the future.


The Context

Flashback to April 2010: Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs wrote an open letter where he outlined the reasons why he would prohibit Flash from iOS, including proprietary code, security issues and battery-draining processes. This view quickly gathered approval and followers – developers started to switch from the Flash ecosystem to “free software based on open standards” (namely, HTML5).

A little over two weeks ago, on July 10, 2015, Adobe issued a security bulletin about “critical” vulnerabilities that had been flagged in Adobe Flash Player that make it prone to malware infections. This news followed a report by The Hacking Team, a surveillance firm that had found two other such weaknesses with the player. These discoveries led Mozilla to deactivate Flash and Alex Stamos, Facebook’s new Chief Information Security Officer, to tweet that it was “time for Adobe to announce the end-of-life date for Flash”.

Since then, Adobe has released new updates to its Flash player that fixed the security issues and Firefox is accepting the Flash browser plugin again. That being said, the debate about the relevance of Flash, in a world where HTML5 has gained so much momentum, is a very valid one.

  Don’t Worry, Flash Won’t End in a Flash

Why and How Does Triton Use Flash?

Our current HTML5 player, although not developed in Flash, has a Flash component that calls for a Flash stream by default. This Flash file contains both the audio stream and the metadata – the companion banner links, the “Now Playing” information, and data needed for ad targeting. Our web player prefers Flash because it is currently the only solution to offer this “container format” and is installed on 99% of all browsers.

However, our player also works with Flash-less browsers. We have developed Side Band Metadata (SBM) as a technique to transfer the metadata to the player alongside pure AAC or MP3 streams. This way, end users get the same, high-quality experience with or without Flash. Plus, if Flash does eventually disappear, modifying the player code will be a very easy update.


Planning Ahead: Deprecation of Old Flash Players

The only area of risk – but one that we are already preparing for – is the deprecation of our older generation players, most of which are built with Flash. According to our estimates, the “End of Flash” won’t occur any earlier than 12 to 18 months from now. Therefore, we are actively working with clients currently using Flash-based players to transition them smoothly to the HTML5 player before that time.

If you have any questions or concerns about your current player or transitioning to the HTML5 player, please contact your Triton Digital sales representative or account manager to learn more. Thank you!