The FLV file type, which stands for Flash Video, is a container format used to deliver digital video content over the Internet. Adobe Systems introduced FLV in 2002 as part of the Flash Video export format in Adobe Animate (then called Flash Professional). It quickly became a popular format for streaming video on the web because it could be easily embedded into web pages using the Adobe Flash Player.
How FLV Works
FLV files package audio, video, and metadata into a single file. This streamlined design allows for efficient delivery over the Internet by making use of the Adobe Flash Player, which can decode the content and play it in browsers. FLV employs codecs like Sorenson Spark and On2 VP6 for video compression, and MP3 or AAC for audio compression, optimizing the content for delivery and playback.
Software That Uses FLV
Historically, FLV files were prominently used by video hosting platforms such as YouTube and Hulu. Media players like VLC, Winamp, and the Adobe Flash Player itself can play FLV files. Video editing and transcoding tools like Adobe Premiere Pro and Handbrake also support FLV format for import and export operations.
Alternatives to FLV
Despite its past popularity, FLV has been largely phased out due to various factors. The rise of HTML5 video and support for native video playback in browsers have made formats like MP4 (with H.264 video codec and AAC audio codec) more dominant. These modern formats offer better compression and are supported natively on most platforms without requiring additional plugins. In response to evolving web standards, Adobe announced in 2017 that it would discontinue the Adobe Flash Player by the end of 2020, further signaling the end of FLV's prominence in the video streaming landscape.