TUTORIAL: everything you need to know about Flash Lite 3 and playing back Flash web videos
Now that I, at last, have had some free time, I’ve very thoroughly tested the (by the XDA-Devs folks) recently released and freely deployable Flash Lite 3.1, which is quite much a step in the right direction.
If you know my Multiplatform YouTube bible, you know well enough that it was by the introduction of Flash Lite 3 to the Symbian platform that Nokia S60 Web, the Web browser on most Symbian phones, became able to play back YouTube and Google Video video clips. On Symbian, Flash Lite 3, speed- and efficiency-wise, was quite a step ahead of the old and heavily outdated Flash 7 player for Windows Mobile – the, then, only Flash plug-in being able to play back (or, at least, try to play back…) YouTube and other Flash video. Back then, only the previous-generation Flash Lite, version 2, was available for Windows Mobile; it was unable to play back any kind of popular Flash video off the Web.
While Adobe, the developer of Flash Lite, has still not released v3.1 officially, some XDA-Devs folks have managed to rip it from some device firmware ROM and pack it into an easily-installable CAB file. The downloads can be found HERE, in the first post. You’ll need either THIS (My_Flash3_1.CAB) or THIS (Dvha79 AdobeFlash3.1 plugin.cab) file. I’ve tested the former on three different Pocket PC’s; the latter should work as well. (The latter two links are direct download links; they’ll only work if and only if you register to the XDA-Devs forum. Let me know if you really don’t want to do this – you should, and, after all, it’s free –; then, I mirror one of these files.) All you have to do is installing either of these files. Also make sure you read the instructions HERE, in the first post.
Speaking of my test devices, I’ve installed it on my HP iPAQ 210 (running factory ROM without any hacks), HTC Wizard (running AMP’s WM6.1) and HTC Universal (running Tomal's just-released ROM version 8.5). It was only on the latter that I haven’t managed to make it work; on the former two, it worked flawlessly. It, nevertheless, did work on previous, 8.2 Tomal ROM versions.
Note that it will NOT work with the built-in Internet Explorer Mobile application, only with the latest, unofficial Opera Mobile distributions available at XDA-Devs. Of them, you’ll want to prefer THIS version (version 9.5 build 15233; ripped from the Samsung Omnia). As opposed to what some people state in the thread, it’s compatible with VGA devices as well, not just QVGA ones, with some stuff you’ll need to keep in mind. (More on them in my forthcoming Web browsing article, to be published, hopefully, tomorrow.) Note that the, currently, officially available 9.51b2 version (available HERE) will NOT work with Flash Lite 3.1: as the FAQ also states, “ActiveX is disabled — Flash plugins and embedded video streaming do not work.”
The Flash Lite 3.1 plug-in makes it possible to, at last, watch embedded video on the Flash Lite 3-compatible (unfortunately, very few) video services without major performance problems (unlike with the older version). While there’re a lot of third-party YouTube players (again, read the Multiplatform YouTube bible for more info), having native YouTube / Google Video support is great in that they allow for seeing all the comments, related videos etc. at the same time and not having to put up with the really low-quality RTSP streaming videos the mobile version of YouTube has.
Nevertheless, it still uses much more CPU and doesn’t really offer full screened mode (you can zoom in Opera Mobile, but it requires a lot of time-robber fine-tuning, dragging etc.), unlike on Symbian S60, where you can easily switch to full screen mode in Landscape. Therefore, if you really don’t need the traditional YouTube Web interface, prefer those alternatives; most importantly, CorePlayer, which, as of the recently released version 1.3, has fixed the most important YouTube-related restrictions and bugs I’ve spoken of a lot in my Multiplatform YouTube bible.
Note that, in addition to YouTube and Google Video, I’ve tested the compliance of all (!) video services currently listed in Wiki. The results are as follows. Note that (Flash 9) denotes the service prints a message asking for Flash 9 (on the desktop, as there’s absolutely no Flash 9 support on Windows Mobile). As you can see, very few additional services are supported: blip.tv and PornoTube. I’ve, nevertheless, provided you with real URL’s, should you want to test compliance yourself.
Atom.com: - (Flash 9)
BGVIP.TV: - (Flash 9)
blip.tv: + (in stereo; the FPS isn’t the best though and sometimes it skips)
Break.com: - (displays “Get Flash”)
Broadcaster.com: currently (01/03/2009 1:00 AM) doesn’t work even on desktops, has server-side problems
ClickCaster, GoFish: couldn’t find videos
imeem: - (Flash 9)
Internet Archive (IA): - (only the staring image is displayed)
Metacafe: ? (switches to m.metacafe.com and the resulting URL isn’t working)
PornoTube: +: only the starting ad is played back with some videos; others play back OK. Slow (about 5 fps), stereo playback.
ShowMeDo: - (tells the user to get the Flash player; not that these mainly programming-related, relatively high-res contents would be worth at all displaying in a, currently, pixel doubled Opera Mobile version – that is, with the effective (maximal) video resolution of 320*240)
Tudou: - (Flash 9)
Twango (now Nokia Share): - (tells to update the player)
Veoh: couldn’t test because of the blocking
viddler: - (Flash 9)
Vimeo: - (Flash 9)
Vmix: not for casual users
Yahoo Video: -
YouPorn: - (asks for latest player)
UPDATE (01/04/2009): as explained by HF member k_semler, "If you start a YouTube video playing, and click and hold the playing video with your stylus, (or finger), a menu appears which offers you the option to view in full screen mode. To exit out of full screen, do the same. It works perfectly. I am using Dvha79 AdobeFlash3.1 plugin.cab Also, Hulu.com does not work. It prompts to install Flash Player 9.0."