On2 Technologies has announced the release of Flix Pro 8.5, a new version of its Flash Video encoding software for Mac OS X and Windows. A free update for Flix Pro 8.x users, Flix Pro 8.5 can be purchased for $249 (around £135), or bundled as part of On2 Flix Studio for $380 (around £205).

Flix Pro supports two-pass Flash 8-based video encoding. It works without a streaming server and can play on all platforms and browsers even through firewalls. Batch-encoding is supported, and presets are included to help you stream video at any bandwidth. You can also add many Flash features without knowing how to program Flash, such as preloading, projectors and play controls. It works with DV, QuickTime, MPEG-4 and many other video formats, a variety of still image formats, and MP3 and WAV audio formats.

New to this release is chroma color keying tools, so users can create greenscreen visual effects (such as inserting an actor into a background). Advanced video encoding controls have been added, including auto keyframing, quantizer leveling, encoder speed and sharpness. Also new in 8.5 is support for video cue point insertion -- helpful if you want to bookmark or chapter your videos, close-caption and trigger events.

System requirements call for G4 or later; Intel processors are not supported yet. 128MB RAM, 256MB free disk space, Mac OS X v10.3 or later, Safari 2.0 or later. Flash 8 Player is required to preview SWF and FLV files; QuickTime 6 is needed to play back certain video files and to convert MP3 audio and MPEG-1 video.