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What Is an FLV File?

Tim Fisher has more than 30 years’ of professional technology experience. He’s been writing about tech for more than two decades and serves as the SVP and General Manager of Lifewire.

Updated on April 6, 2021
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Christine Baker is a marketing consultant with experience working for a variety of clients. Her expertise includes social media, web development, and graphic design.

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What to Know

  • An FLV file is a Flash Video file.
  • Open one with VLC or Winamp.
  • Convert to MP4, MOV, GIF, etc. with CloudConvert or Any Video Converter.

This article explains what FLV files are, how to play one on any platform, and how to convert one to a different video format so that it plays correctly on your device.

What Is an FLV File?

Standing for Flash Video, a file with the .FLV file extension is a file that uses Adobe Flash Player or Adobe Air to transmit video or audio over the internet.

Flash Video has long been the standard video format used by nearly all embedded video on the internet including the videos found on YouTube, Hulu, and many more websites. However, since Adobe has officially discontinued Flash, streaming services and software developers have dropped Flash in favor of HTML5 and other formats.

Lifewire / Theresa Chiechi

The F4V file format is a Flash Video file that’s similar to FLV. Some FLV files are embedded in SWF files.

FLV files are most commonly known as Flash Video files. However, because Adobe Flash Professional is now called Animate, files in this format might also be referred to as Animate Video files.

How to Play an FLV File

Files of this format are usually created using the Flash Video Exporter plug-in included in Adobe Animate. Therefore, that program should open FLV files just fine.

Other FLV players include VLC, Winamp, and MPC-HC. Other popular media players probably support the format, too.

The free PlayerXtreme Media Player plays FLV files on your phone or tablet. It supports lots of other file formats, too. Download this app to open FLV files through Google Play for Android or iTunes for iOS.

Several programs edit and export to this format, including DVDVideoSoft’s Free Video Editor.

How to Convert an FLV File

Convert an FLV file to another format if a particular device, video player, website, etc., doesn’t support the format. For example, iOS has never supported Flash and therefore won’t play FLV files.

Many free file converters convert FLV files to other formats that can be recognized by a wide variety of devices and players. Any Video Converter converts FLV to MP4, AVI, WMV, and MP3, among many other file formats.

To convert a small FLV file, upload it to Zamzar, a free online file converter. It lets you save to a variety of formats like MOV, 3GP, MP4, FLAC, AC3, AVI, and GIF, among others, but also to a handful of video presets like PSP, iPhone, Kindle Fire, Apple TV, DVD, and more.

CloudConvert works, too. Save to MKV, WEBM, WAV, MP3, and others.

More Information on Flash Video File Formats

FLV isn’t the only Flash Video file format. Other applications may use the F4V, F4A, F4B, or F4P file extension to indicate a Flash Video.

Some websites offering streaming content, like Facebook, Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, etc., used to support Flash as their default video file format but have completely eliminated all Flash video files in favor of the newer HTML5 format. This change has been fueled by the fact that Adobe no longer supports Flash.

Still Can’t Open It?

If the programs mentioned above don’t open your file, double-check that you’re reading the file extension correctly. If the software on this page won’t open the file you have, it’s probably because it just looks like an .FLV file but is really using a different suffix.

For example, you might find that you really have an FLP file, which could belong to the FL Studio Project, Floppy Disk Image, ActivPrimary Flipchart, or FruityLoops Project format. In any of those cases, the FLV players above aren’t appropriate for opening the file.

In the instance of FLP files, you might actually have a Flash Project file, and it therefore should open with Adobe Animate.

FLS files are similar in that while they might be Flash Lite Sound Bundle files that work with Adobe Animate, they could instead be ArcView GIS Windows Help Supporting files and used by ESRI’s ArcGIS Pro software.

LVF is another example where the file belongs to the Logitech Video Effects file format but the file extension closely resembles FLV. In this case, the file would open not with a video player but with Logitech’s webcam software.

You get the idea here: check the file extension, and if it’s not «.FLV» then you should research the real letter/number combination to determine the file format and eventually the program that’s responsible for opening or converting it.

What is Flash?

Adobe Flash is a platform used to create and view multimedia content. It typically runs in web browsers. It’s sometimes also referred to as Shockwave Flash or Macromedia Flash.

How can you download an embedded Flash video?

Using Google Chrome, go to the website with the video you want and use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+U to open the page’s source code. Look for a file using the .swf extension, then save it to your hard drive.

How do you uninstall Adobe Flash Player?

If you open the player, Adobe may automatically ask you to uninstall it since it’s no longer supported. If not, you can manually remove it by downloading the uninstaller (Windows, Mac OS 10.1 to 10.3, Mac OS 10.4 and later) and running it. Follow the on-screen instructions to remove Flash Player from your computer.

Why did Flash shut down?

Adobe decided to end support for Flash because it’s no longer needed. There are now plenty of viable alternatives, such as HTML5, WebGL, and WebAssembly. Tech companies are integrating them into their web browsers, making Flash obsolete.

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Top 10 FLV Player for Phone and Computer

Before, FLV files can be opened directly by Adobe Flash Player. However, since December 31, 2020, Adobe no longer supports Flash Player and blocked Flash content from running in Flash Player. To play FLV video files, you will need an FLV player to replace Adobe Flash Player.

This post collects the top 5 FLV video player for Windows, Mac, iPhone and Android, and you can watch FLV files conveniently without Adobe Flash Player.

FLV Player

  • Part 1. Top 5 FLV File Player for Windows/Mac/iPhone/Android
  • Part 2. FAQs of FLV Player

Part 1. Top 5 FLV File Player for Windows/Mac/iPhone/Android

Considering some FLV file players are cross platforms, and here we only list the top 6 FLV player, and you can download them according to your devices.

Tipard Blu-ray Player (Windows | Mac)

Play DVD

Tipard Blu-ray Player is a professional media player, which supports FLV, WMV, MP4, MKV, AVI, SWF, and over 500 formats. Without any ads, it lets you create FLV playlists to play it continuously and easily. The playback window is easy to control to change the playback window, ratio, audio settings, subtitle options, and more. Compatible with Windows 10/8/7 and macOS Monterey and before, this FLV player can open almost any video and audio files.

  • 1.Play Blu-ray and DVD files apart from FLV.
  • 2.Play 4K/1080p HD video and support H.265, H.264, VP8, VP9, DviX, XviD, etc.
  • 3.Create playlists for Blu-ray, DVD, and digital files.
  • 4.Take screenshots when playing Blu-ray and DVDs.
  • 1.It is not free to play FLV files.
  • 2.Lack of other features like streaming, downloading, etc.

VLC (Windows | Mac | iOS | Android)

VLC FLV Player

VLC is a well-known media player on multi-platforms. As an open-source media player, it can play most codecs like FLV, MP4, WMV, WebM, MKV, etc. Besides, it can also play DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. When playing FLV files, VLC can meet all your needs to adjust the subtitles, audio tracks, playback speed, and more.

  • 1.Play FLV files on most platforms.
  • 2.Hardware decoding supports 0-copy on the GPU.
  • 3.Advanced controls over the subtitle synchronization and video filters.
  • 4.Stream and convert FLV files.
  • 1.It always crashes when playing 4K FLV files.
  • 2.Some features are missing on iPhone and Android, compared with computer.

5KPlayer (Windows | Mac | iOS | Android)

5Kpalyer Flv Player

5KPlayer is another free FLV file player on cross platforms. It integrates video player, music player, AirPlay & DLNA enabled media streamer with the online downloader. No matter what your FLV files are 4K UHD or 1080p HD, this FLV player can open FLV files by dragging and dropping. Empowered by hardware decoding and software decoding tech, 5KPlayer can freely switch from a software player to a GPU-accelerated player.

  • 1.Play 4K/1080p/360° video, DVD, and IPTV on your devices.
  • 2.Wirelessly stream audio video via AirPlay & DLNA, zero quality loss.
  • 1.Pop-up ads are annoying.
  • 2.It makes all kinds of changes to your system without any notice and not safe.

GOM Player (Windows | Mac | iOS | Android)

GOM Player FLV

GOM Player is a free video player that supports various formats including FLV, AVI, MP4, MKV, WMV, MOV, etc. For Windows users, GOM Player can help you find codecs and play damaged files. It has a subtitle library, which can automatically search and sync subtitles for the movie being played. The interface can be customized and the functional models can be moved as you like to show or hide.

  • 1.Play various video formats including 360-degree videos on Windows 10/8/7.
  • 2.Search and find codecs to play almost all video files.
  • 3.Have a subtitle library collected for 10 years.
  • 1.The free version of GOM player does not support 4K FLV playback.
  • 2.It has bundleware in the installation and ads pop-up.

KMPlayer (Windows | Mac | iOS | Android)

KMPlayer FLV

KMPlayer is a free video player for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. Like other free FLV players, it supports the most popular formats including FLV, VCD, HDML, DVD, AVI, MKV, OGG, OGM, 3GP, MPEG-1/2/4, AAC, WMA 7, 8, WMV, RealMedia, and QuickTime. While playing files, its equalizer feature can enrich the audio listening. Its timer feature can set the time to end the video when you want.

  • 1.Play various video formats in 4K and 8K.
  • 2.Capture video and save as it an animated GIF image.
  • 3.Hardware acceleration can optimize for low-end PC.
  • 1.Install bloatware and show some insane ads at startup.
  • 2.The interface is not friendly.

Part 2. How to Play FLV Files on Computer

Though Adobe Flash Player discontinues, you can still open FLV videos via the FLV player. Take Tipard Blu-ray Player as an example and let’s show how to watch FLV files on computer.

Download FLV player

Free download this FLV file player on your computer, install and run it immediately after following the on-screen instructions.

Play FLV files

Then drag and drop the FLV file into this player, and it will start playing. You can create a playlist for the FLV files and watch them later.

Play DVD

Part 3. FAQs of FLV Player

Does Windows Media Player support FLV files?

No. Windows Media Player does not support FLV natively. To play FLV files on Windows Media Player, you should download and install the FLV codec.

Can Chrome play FLV files?

Generally speaking, the native FLV player on the web, Adobe Flash Player has been discontinued, and FLV files cannot be opened directly on the web. However, you can install the FLV player plug-in in Chrome to play FLV files.

How do I play FLV files on Windows 10?

There are 2 ways to play FLV files on Windows 10. One is getting an FLV player in this post, and the other solution is to convert FLV to MP4 and other popular formats for your devices.


Before, FLV files can be opened easily with its native support, Adobe Flash Player. Since this player was discontinued, you have to find an FLV player to open FLV files. This post list the top 5 FLV player for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. You can easily watch FLV movies on your devices.

Now, it is your turn.

Which FLV player is your No.1?

Or do you have any questions when Playing FLV files?

Whatever, tell us by leaving your comments below.

Posted by Kenny Kevin to Play Video
February 04, 2021 10:53

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