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Technical facts

Flash is by far the best choice for playing videos over the internet. Other formats such as Windows Media or QuickTime do not reach such a massive audience.

Flowplayer requires Flash version 10.1 to be installed on the client machine. Flash 10.1 was released in 2010, and by now almost every user has it installed.

Flowplayer automatically detects whether a lower Flash version than 10.1 is installed on the client machine and takes care of an upgrade to the latest version using Express Install. You really don’t have to configure anything.

Supported browsers

Flowplayer API and JavaScript plugins are dependent on JavaScript 1.5 which is supported by the following browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 6.0+
  • Firefox FF 2+
  • Safari 2.0+
  • Opera 9.0+

According to these browser statistics nearly 98% of your audience are covered by the above. And according to our own surveys far less than 1% of users are still using Firefox 1+. That leaves around 5% of users who have disabled JavaScript support in their browser settings. The workaround for this is to install Flowplayer using the standard OBJECT tag without JavaScript. Instructions can be found here. However, you - and your audience - will miss out on ease of use and dynamic scripting capabilities.

Supported video formats

FormatVideo CodecAudio CodecFile SuffixDescription


FLV (Sorenson H.263)



The original Flash video container format. Also allows some other more exotic video codecs like On2 VP6 and Screen video.




.mp4 .mov .m4v

Supported since Flash version 9 update 3. The H.264 - aka MPEG-4 AVC or MPEG-4 Part 10 - video compression standard provides high quality at significantly lower bitrates compared to older codecs.





Similar to MP4, but Flash specific, or H.264/AAC in a FLV container. Useful for high-quality php-pseudostreaming, but rare otherwise.

For a complete description of Flash formats refer to this article.

If you also deploy your video to iOS with our ipad plugin please take note of the video encoding constraints on that platform. However, all videos which play on iOS will also play in Flash.

Be aware that otherwise valid MP4 files may carry video in a different encoding than H.264, like MPEG-4 Part 2. Playback of these files will fail.

H.264 files and metadata

H.264 encoded videos carry their metadata - duration, frame rate etc. - in the so called "moov atom".

By default encoding programs will insert the moov atom at the end of the video file which is suitable for playback of a local file in a desktop program. However, any kind of progressive download requires the metadata to be available right away for immediate playback. Otherwise the player has to wait for the entire video to be downloaded before playback starts.

Make sure to select an option in your transcoding program which puts the moov atom at the beginning of the file!

In case you already have a lot of MP4 videos with the moov atom at the end of the file, use a dedicated program such as QTIndexSwapper or MOOV Relocator to move it to the beginning.