Difference between FLV and SWF

Key difference: FLV and SWF are two types of file format used in Adobe Flash. SWF is used for multimedia, vector graphics and ActionScript. FLV is a container file format that is used to deliver video over the Internet.

FLV and SWF are two types of file format used in Adobe Flash. SWF is used for multimedia, vector graphics and ActionScript. FLV is a container file format that is used to deliver video over the Internet.

The SWF file format was developed by the FutureWave Software and was then transferred to Macromedia. Macromedia was eventually acquired by Adobe. SWF files usually contain animations or interactive applets. Currently, SWF is the dominant format for displaying animated vector graphics on the internet. SWF is also commonly used to publish browser games using ActionScript.

The term “SWF” stands for “Small Web Format.” It originally stood for “ShockWave Flash.” It was changed in order to eliminate confusion with Shockwave, which is a different technology. SWF was however derived from Shockwave.

FLV stands for Flash Video. There are two main file formats for Flash Video, FLV and F4V. FLV is usually used to deliver video on the internet. The file formats are supported in Adobe Flash Player. They were originally developed by Macromedia, and are currently under Adobe Systems.

FLV is a container file format, similar to .avi or .mov.  A container file specifies how the data streams inside it are organized. The actual organization and representation of the data streams are done by the various types of codecs.

Most websites, including YouTube, Google Video, Hulu, VEVO, Yahoo! Video, MySpace TV, etc., showcase videos in the .flv format. However, similar to AVI and MOV, FLV is a file format, which means that it needs a player to be played. Still, a lot of the players are not capable of playing a FLV file. If one wants to play a FLV file on a website, the file must first be embedded into a player. Hence, the audio and video data within FLV files are encoded in a SWF file. An SWF file can then be embedded directly on to a website.

.swf files are the completed, compiled and published Flash files. These cannot be edited. .flv files, on the other hand are the actual video material that needs to be played. If one wants to make any changes to the video, the FLV files are the ones that would need to edited. They can be edited using various types Flash authoring software.

The SWF file is the file that contains the frame and player controls that one can interacts with on the website. While, FLV is the video that is being played.  Hence, it can be said that FLV is the video, while, SWF is the player.

Image Courtesy: swfplayer.info, iconizer.net

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