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What's So Bad About Flash and Why Are People Abandoning It?


I woke up yesterday with a huge grin on my face. I had dreamt that the internet’s purveyors of justice destroyed the measly Flash Player. My dream is becoming a reality.

This post explains a bit more about why many video companies hate Flash and describes how the internet is moving away from it.



As with many other web developers and engineers, we’ve fought a long and hard battle against Flash Player. It’s been riddled with security holes that put you at risk of malware. It eats your laptop’s battery like my yellow lab chowing down on my kids’ discarded carrots.

The web relies on HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) to deliver live video broadcasts, and historically, Flash was the only way to play that video outside of Safari on Mac or certain mobile devices.

Last summer, BoxCast CTO Justin Hartman wrote about the status of Flash for live video playback, declaring that for the time being, Flash would live until browser vendors caught on.

Until recently, we hadn’t devised a proper and widely-adopted replacement for the solutions Flash brought to the table, especially for web-based games and live video playback.


Lucky for everyone, Justin wasn’t alone in his analysis. Since he published his post, the Media Source Extensions (MSE) spec has stabilized and gained broad adoption.

MSE works by giving JavaScript developers (including those of us at BoxCast) the ability to take audio and video sources that wouldn’t normally be supported by your browser and turn them into a format that your browser understands.

YouTube started experimenting in 2013 with MSE and Netflix followed in 2014, but it wasn’t until recently that a wide majority of viewers upgraded their browsers to take advantage of the technology.

The time has finally come to abandon Flash!


Last month, BoxCast unveiled our new video player based on MSE (no more Flash!). We take HLS video streams and convert them on-the-fly to MP4s that your browser can understand, all while applying adaptive streaming logic.

And with great timing, shortly after our tests commenced, Google Chrome announced that they would no longer be allowing sites to use Flash.

Website owners who rely on streaming video should check if their player uses Flash and test in Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge. Soon, videos might stop playing for visitors. BoxCast customers can always reach out to our Customer Success team and we can help get you on a Flashless video player.

To learn about additional BoxCast updates, check out these 6 Awesome Features of the New BoxCast Dashboard.