4 Ways to Watch Flash Videos on Your Desktop

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A Flash video player lets you watch FLV files on your computer. Flash videos aren't as popular as other file types like MP4 and MKV, but some software programs and websites still deliver videos in this format.

An FLV player isn't much different than a video player for other video file formats. However, with so many video players out there, you want to make sure the Flash player you use has all the features you want.

For example, you definitely want one that's virus-free, but you might also want it to have a built-in video converter or the option to stream Flash video live from the web.

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Screenshot of VLC playing a Flash video in Windows

Jon Fisher

What We Like
  • Works on Windows, Linux, and macOS.

  • Plays local and online content.

  • Easy to use.

  • Includes great features.

  • Plays audio files, too.

  • Updates often with new features and enhancements.

What We Don't Like
  • Could be overwhelming if all you need is a simple FLV player.

VLC is an easy-to-use cross-platform video player that works with Flash files and many other file formats you might need to throw its way.

This application is truly the Swiss army knife of video playback options, with features like the ability to open a network stream to watch live broadcasts, convert the video to a number of other video file formats, watch with subtitles, access FLV files on the local network, and cast videos to a Chromecast.

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Screenshot of the Winamp free FLV player in Windows

Jon Fisher 

What We Like
  • Opens web and local FLV files.

  • Includes unique features.

  • Supports saving playlists to a file.

  • Lets you bookmark locations in a video to return to them later.

  • You can play an entire folder of videos consecutively.

  • Lots of settings can be tweaked to your preference.

What We Don't Like
  • Not as visually appealing as most FLV players.

  • Starts to get confusing to use as you enter into the advanced settings.

  • Lacks support for many file formats.

  • Resizing the window is more difficult than it should be.

Winamp was originally created way back in 1999 and is still around to play FLV files and other video and audio content. It ranks for being on this list as a free FLV player for its unique features and extensibility options.

If you can get past the initial shock of the old-style buttons and dull theme, you'll find useful features like plug-in support, playlist options, repeat and shuffle, equalizer settings, hotkeys, a built-in web browser, CD ripping, and access to podcasts.

You can pick from various program skins and color themes if you want to change up how Winamp looks.

The download page shows several download links, but most people will want to choose the Softpedia Mirror (US) link.

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AnvSoft Web FLV Player

Screenshot of AnvSoft Web FLV Player in Windows

Jon Fisher 

What We Like
  • Simple and easy to use.

  • Lacks advanced settings that could be confusing to some.

  • Lets you make small adjustments to the player's colors.

  • Supports auto-repeat.

What We Don't Like
  • The program can be displayed is only three languages.

  • Doesn't support keyboard shortcuts.

This free FLV player is perfect if you need a clean program that isn't littered with extra features. Just install it and load an FLV file from your computer or a URL to play it.

Although this program is definitely one of the easier to use Flash video players, it has a few features to help you publish the video to the web if that's your plan. You can ignore those features if you like because they're not in the way, but you do have that extra capability should you need it.

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Screenshot of the MPC-HC free FLV player in Windows

Jon Fisher

What We Like
  • Quick download and installation.

  • Resizes the window automatically to fit the video resolution.

  • Supports subtitles.

  • The user interface (UI) is easy to grasp.

What We Don't Like
  • Might not play every FLV file.

  • It's full of advanced settings that might be intimidating.

  • Runs on Windows only.

MPC-HC can play FLV files for free from your computer via a file or folder, and can also load Flash video from DVDs and Blu-rays. The program is designed in a way that it can be straightforward and easy for anyone to use, or you can access the settings to do some advanced tweaking.

This program has a few unique features, such as an option to screenshot a specific part of the video, make a copy of the FLV file, disable various menu items for a distraction-free UI, adjust rendering settings, and fast-forward by individual frames.

Choose between 32-bit and 64-bit on the download page to get the right program for your computer. The software can be downloaded in a ZIP or 7Z file, or as a regular EXE.