Adobe announced a preview of Flash Player "Gala", a new plugin that brings GPU hardware-accelerated decoding support to the Mac OS X platform. According to the software developer, this new release can reduce CPU utilization by up to two-thirds.
Many video professionals point out that access to hardware video decoding is the single most important factor in overall CPU load when playing video. Mac OS X 10.6.3, which became available on March 29, 2010, is the first Mac OS X release to expose APIs that support H.264 hardware video decoding in the browser. The combination of NVIDIA GPUs (GeForce 9400M, GeForce 320M or GeForce GT 330M) with the Gala version of Flash Player enables supported Macs running the current version of OS X to deliver smooth, flicker-free HD video with substantially decreased power consumption. Users will be able to enjoy a much smoother viewing experience when accessing rich, H.264 video content built with the Flash Platform from popular sites like Hulu.com or YouTube.
Mac users interested in testing out this preview can grab it over here. At present, the hardware acceleration only works with Mac OS X 10.6.3 and only H.264 video is supported.