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What is a Flash Video (FLV)File ? How Do You Open and Play it?

Open FLV files with Free Players

Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 02:34 am

Updated 5.6.2022

What is an FLV File?

FLV stands for Flash Video.

If you’ve dealt with online video, whether watching or downloading, the FLV file format will be familiar to you.

Time was when most online video streaming services like Youtube, Yahoo! Video, VEVO, Hulu, and Dailymotion used Flash Video. They have now moved to HTML5 after Adobe ended support for Flash video in 2021.

Support for Flash video ended

FLV was usually encoded with the Adobe Flash encoder using the Sorenson Spark or the VP6 codec.

Playback was through the Flash Player which was available as a plugin in web browsers before Adobe ended support for it.

Whatever video file format uploaded to a video sharing or streaming site was usually converted to the FLV format so that was compatible across different web platforms.

Open FLV Files and Play Them With These  Free Media Players

These days MP4 is the video format popularly used over the Internet and mobile devices when it comes to video.

If you’ve previously downloaded an FLV file and find that you can’t play it with Windows Media Player, rest easy. There are other free media players that can do the job as you can see below.

Open FLV Files with VLC Media Player

There’s no video format that the VLC can’t play back. So, if you’re looking for a media player that supports the playback of popular and unpopular video formats, go for VLC.

Play FLV files with VLC

Upon installing it, click on Media on the main menu and choose Open. You may also use the CTRL +O keys to do the same.

Then navigate to the directory where your FLV file is stored before clicking on the PLAY button.

AnvSoft Web FLV Player

If you’re looking to do more than opening and playing FLV files, AnvSoft Web FLV Player should be your choice.

First, let’s look at how you can play FLV files.

How to Open FLV Files - AnvSoft Web FLV Player

Click on File and choose Open.

The player also allows you to play FLV files through an URL.  This will be useful if a site doesn’t allow for full screen playback of a video.

Grab the URL of the video, then go to the File menu and choose Open URL.

Input the video URL and click OK.

FLV playback starts and your video will play in the player

You can then choose to play double the size of the original video or in full screen.

One standout advantage of AnvSoft Web FLV Player  is it support the playback of multiple FLV files.

Open FLV Files with MPC-HC (Media Player Classic)

Media Player Classic (MPC)  has been around for quite a while and has its own fans.

If you’re looking for a media player that doesn’t tax your computer system resources, give MPC-HC a try.

Right click on middle of the player screen, select File and open your FLV file.

If you’re still running Windows XP service pack 3 or Windows Vista, go for this FLV player.

FLV Media Player

FLV  Media Player doesn’t require a pre-installed Adobe Flash OCX plugin to play back your FLV files.

One advantage of the player is it can open an FLV file from a web address and save it.

You can also open file folders containing FLV files.

The player also supports the playback of little known formats like 3GP and F4A.

The player available at works on even older operating systems like WIndows XP and Windows Vista.

Open FLV Files with FLV Player

This free player available from doesn’t only play FLV but also MP3, MP4 and even HD FLV. provides the option of downloading the player or FLV Downloader and FLV Converter which come with the player.

How to Open FLV files - FLV Player Free

Note that you can also play video from a web address.

You need to install no additional codecs and the player works with Windows XP and Windows Vista.

Now that you have the list of media players that open FLV files, take some time to explore them further and choose the one that suits your requirements.

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