Twitch abandons Flash for video streaming

Adobe Flash is edging closer to the digital grave. Not only has Mozilla blocked all versions of the plugin, but gaming broadcaster Twitch has announced plans to move away from the format.

The Amazon-owned service has taken a half-step away from Flash, redesigning its video player so that it uses HTML5 and Javascript.

At the moment, this only affects player controls, with the actual video stream still in the much-maligned Adobe format, though eventually the entire Twitch experience will be delivered in HTML5. "This is an important step to releasing the much-anticipated full HTML5 player," the company says in a blog post.

The new player has been planned for months, though the piecemeal rollout is due to the fact that Twitch has so heavily relied on Flash for years. In a post to Reddit, representative 'kixelated' said "The underlying HTML5 video playback works great and we've been testing it internally for a few months. The problem is that we do EVERYTHING in Flash right now, so we have to port every feature one-by-one into HTML/JS before we can release the player."

Getting the user interface working in HTML5 has been the first priority, and with that now being implemented, work will begin on shifting the video stream to the format. While there's no date for that yet, even the unfinished player Twitch is testing internally "still uses a third of the CPU and a fraction of the memory compared to our current Flash player", which bodes well for the final release.

Some users may not see the HTML5 player controls immediately, but streams should be updated to the new standard shortly. Channel pages will benefit first, with all broadcasters and viewers seeing the new look gradually over the coming weeks.


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