How to deal with FLV files?

Andrew Moore
Updated: September 30, 2022

Files with the FLV extension are related to a Flash Video format. These formats require a Flash Player or Adobe Air to playback or transcode videos. Though nowadays, most websites containing videos do not require additional software.

The FLV format was quite popular in the 2000s when it was used in various applications. Most developers used it to save the animation files in this format. It preserves the image quality and does not increase file size significantly.

A detailed description of the format

There is a unique plugin that allows exporting FLV files. It is called Flash Video Exporter and was part of the Adobe Animate package. There is a list of players that let open FLV files without problems. It includes Winamp, VLC, MPC-HC, and others. But we should understand that this number of supporting programs increases with time. Today, many universal players open multiple formats on smartphones and tablets.

According to the current statistics, many people use VideoLAN VLC media player for playing FLV media files. It is a multiplatform application. Specific format converters deal with this particular format. Experts recommend using HandBrake and Xilisoft Video Converter Ultimate for converting multimedia files to FLV format. This application processes files of the following types:

  • MKV
  • WEB
  • WMA 
  • MP4

The FLV file is a Flash-compatible video file based on applications like Adobe Flash that support this file format. It is worth noting that FLV files are similar in structure to the SWF format. The FLV format stores titles, audio, video, and other metadata.

The specifications of this format

The Flash Video format is much widespread on the Internet. It can contain streaming videos for video hosting sites such as YouTube, MySpace, and others. Remember that FLV files offer the possibility of significant compression against the background of their own type. Thus, the files with an FLV extension can create difficulties for users trying to download them.

In order to open a file of an FLV video format, there are a reasonably large number of software systems that work both on Windows-based computers and Mac OS ones. Applications from the Youtube Downloader or Orbit Downloader series help save FLV Flash Video from various video hosting sites to the users’ PCs. Using Free FLV Converter or Any Video Converter and similar utilities, people can convert FLV media files to standard formats such as AVI file extension. To open an FLV file, use FLV Player, Adobe Flash Player, and VLC media player. Some of these applications are able to open FLV only after installing particular video codecs. Therefore, without the proper additions of the specific video codec, you will not be able to open the FLV file format with a regular Media Player in Windows.

The secrets of the format’s popularity

The Flash Video format developed by Adobe Systems is commonly used for online video on platforms like YouTube, Vevo, Hulu, and many other streaming hostings. Almost all operating systems (except iOS) can open and play FLV files using the Adobe Flash Player application (along with browser plugins) and other third-party software. These files can be played on iPhone and Android devices in relevant source programs and using specific web browsers. Files of the FLV extension can only be viewed with players that support the FLV format. Recording FLV files in real-time from the screen is possible in several video capture or video recording programs.

FLV files that use the H.263 and the Sorenson Spark (FourCC FLV1) codec are generally considered compatible for some reasons. Firstly, they are the first codec files supported by Flash Player. Secondly, the mass use of other versions can support this codec. Audio in FLV videos is most often recorded in MP3 format. At the same time, such sound can be recorded over video using a microphone and the Nellymoser Asao Codec codec. The main difference between these two methods and Screenshare is that the latter option is only compatible with Flash Player 8.

Here is the incomplete list of apps that can open FLV media files:

  1. Microsoft Windows Photo Gallery Viewer
  2. FFDShow
  3. Windows Media Player
  4. VideoLAN VLC Media Player

A brief summary of the FLV format

Adobe Systems created Flash Video encoding specifications and video compression standards for digital video in the form of lightweight files that are embedded in web pages and can be streamed on the Internet. Widely used web browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer are integrated with playback support and feature compatibility for the FLV files. 

The interleaved video and audio content of an FLV file are stored in the SWF format and integrated with hosted multimedia content, which is compatible with FLV files. The content of an FLV file usually includes interleaved digital video, audio track, short titles, and meta descriptions. The QuickTime Pro application can also export video files in FLV format. RealNetworks RealPlayer, Adobe Flash Player, Winamp, and VLC Media Player are just some multimedia applications built-in with playback functionality and compatibility support for opening and displaying the FLV files.