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What is an FLV File?


Question: What is an FLV File?

Did you find an FLV file on your computer and wonder what program should open it? Maybe someone emailed you an FLV file but you're not sure how to use it. Perhaps you tried to open the FLV file but Windows told you that it could not open it.

Before you can open an FLV file (assuming it's even a file format that's intended to be viewed or edited), you'll need to determine what kind of file the .FLV file extension refers to.

Answer: A file with the FLV file extension is a Flash Video file.

The Flash Video format is a video format defined by Adobe Systems. Flash Video is the standard video format used by nearly all embedded video on the Internet including the videos found on YouTube, Google Video, and many more websites.

Other types of files may also use the FLV file extension. If you know of any additional file formats that use the .FLV extension, please let me know so I can update this information.

How To Open an FLV File

The easiest way to open an FLV file is to double-click on it and let your PC decide which default application should open the file. If no program opens the FLV file then you probably don't have an application installed that can view and/or edit FLV files.

Warning: Take great care when opening executable file formats received via email or downloaded from websites you're not familiar with. See my List of Executable File Extensions for a listing of file extensions to avoid and why.

Many programs open FLV files since it's a popular video/audio compression format. Adobe's Flash Player (version 7 and later) opens FLV files as well as RealPlayer, VLC, MPlayer, Winamp, and other popular media players.

Several programs also exist that can edit and export to FLV including Adobe Premiere Pro.

If you know any other worthwhile information about FLV files, please send me a quick email and let me know so I can update this page.

If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the FLV file but it's the wrong application or if you would rather have another installed program open FLV files, see my How To Change the Default Program for a Specific File Extension guide for making that change in Windows.

How To Convert an FLV File

There are two main ways to attempt to convert an FLV file to another file type:

The first option involving opening the FLV file in its native program is preferable because it's both easier and will probably result in a more accurate file conversion. Of course if you don't have a program that opens FLV files, a third-party file conversion tool (the second option) could be very useful.

Important: You cannot usually change a file extension (like the FLV file extension) to one that your computer recognizes and expect the newly renamed file to be usable. An actual file format conversion using one of the methods described above must take place in most cases.

Still Having Problems Opening or Using an FLV File?

See Get More Help for information about contacting me on social networks or via email, posting on tech support forums, and more. Let me know what kinds of problems you're having with opening or using the FLV file and I'll see what I can do to help.

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