Difference between SWF and FLV

I will find people confuse with the difference between SWF and FLV. I am willing to reply people’s question as long as I know its answer. In fact, this question can be replied by one sentence, that is, SWF (acronym of “Shockwave Flash”) actually is a Flash movie, and it can be viewed as a Flash animation format, while the FLV is Flash Video, which is a Flash video format. Both of them can be created by Adobe Flash.

More specifically, SWF is a proprietary file format for multimedia and especially for vector graphics. It can contain animations or applets of varying degrees of interactivity and function in order to be small enough for publication on the Web. Therefore, SWF is currently the dominant format for displaying animated vector graphics on the web which is very popular and be commonly used. What’s more, SWF is sometimes used for creating animated display graphics and menus for DVD movies, and television commercials.

FLV, as a Flash video format, is also very popular on the web. You can always see the videos on the website like YouTube, Google Video, MySpace TV. After you download the video from YouTube, you will find the downloaded video’s file extension is .flv, which means it is the FLV video. It is also in a small size and can be loaded on the web easily. We can take the YouTube video as an example, the video on the website we can consider as a FLV files with a player in it.  Once you download it to your local computer, you just download the content, that is the FLV, to your website, but the player is still on the YouTube website. If you want to play the FLV on your website, you need to embed it to a player. While the SWF can be seen as a container and we can embed the FLV files into SWF and play it. So, under some conditions, SWF file can be divided into two parts, the Flash Video (animation content) and the SWF player (Adobe Flash Player is commonly used to play the SWF).

Generally, SWF file is a completed, compiled and published file and can not be edited by Adobe Flash, however, many SWF converters or FLV encoders do exist. These little tools will help us convert the video to Flash Video (FLV) or Flash Movie (SWF) to be published in the website for sharing. As we all know, because of the widely use of Flash player 8 and Flash player 9, nearly any Flash Movie can be easily played on every browser.

Therefore, it is not surprising to find many people Google for the FLV encoder, FLV converter, or SWF converter.  Now the video sharing websites like YouTube have attracted people’s attention, and then follows the popularity of the FLV downloader and FLV player, which has become a fashion today.  Even if you are not familiar with Flash making, you can get Flash video or movie as well. Just choose a Flash Converter. It can help you to upload your video with a small size in the form of FLV.


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