Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Web Design & Development > Adobe Flash

📄 Contents

  1. Embedded Delivery of SWF Files
  2. Progressively Downloading FLV Video from a Web Server
  3. Streaming (FLV) Video Content
Like this article? We recommend

Progressively Downloading FLV Video from a Web Server

Progressively downloading a video clip from a web server doesn’t provide the same real-time performance that streaming the video from the Flash Communication Server does. However, progressively downloading video does have several distinct advantages over the embed delivery option:

  • This method is almost as easy as the embedding option.
  • You can use much larger and longer video clips
  • This method uses linked files (as does streaming), keeping file sizes to a minimum.

With the progressive download option, you still enjoy the benefits of downloading video from an external source without the need for Flash Communication Server. As with the streaming option, you use the FLV Playback component or ActionScript to control video playback.

The ActionScript method enables developers to use Script commands to feed external FLV files into a Flash movie and play them back during runtime (see Figure 2). In this method, the video content (FLV file) is kept external to the other Flash content and the video-playback controls (the video player) in the SWF file.

Figure 2

Figure 2 ActionScript commands for progressively downloading an external FLV file

The file is served from a normal web server through an HTTP request just like a normal web page or any other downloadable document. The video file must be downloaded to the client’s hard drive before it will play back. However, unlike traditional download-and-play methods of video delivery, with progressive download, the file starts playing before it has completely downloaded.

Pros of Using Progressive Downloading

Keeping the video external and separate to the SWF file offers a number of benefits over embedded video, including the following:

  • Easier updates: It’s relatively easy to add or change content independently of the video player and without the need to republish the SWF file. During authoring, you need to publish only the SWF interface for previewing or testing part or all of your Flash content. This results in faster preview times and quicker authoring turnaround. In addition, the frame rate of the video file can be different from the frame rate of the SWF file, providing greater authoring flexibility.
  • Smaller SWF file sizes: Your SWF file can remain very small for fast page loads and the video is delivered only when the user requests it.
  • Better performance: Because the FLV and SWF files are separate, video files are loaded from the computer’s disk drive into the SWF file, with no limitation on file size or duration. As such, the performance and results of your video playback will typically be better. Also, sync issues between the fps rate of the video and the fps rate of the SWF file are no longer a problem. During delivery, video begins playing as soon as the first segment has been downloaded and is cached to the local computer’s hard drive.

These benefits apply to both progressive download and streaming video and are compelling enough that Adobe recommends that embedded video be used only as a last resort.

Cons of Using Progressive Downloading

When compared with streaming video, there is really only one benefit of progressive download: You don’t need streaming server software to deliver your video. Progressive download video can be served from any normal web server. For example, it can be served off the same machine that is running Apache and serving your HTML pages.

Although this convenience is nice, it does present some problems, including these:

  • Limited seek and navigation capabilities: Viewers cannot seek forward through the video; they need to wait until the video is downloaded entirely before navigating to a particular spot in the clip. Streaming video is the better choice if you are delivering longer clips that require the ability to skip quickly around.
  • User-accessible content: Because the file is downloaded, the media physically resides on the viewer’s machine. Savvy users can access the content by searching their browser caches or temporary Internet files. This might not be a bad thing if the content owner has no concerns about rights management for his or her content. For some users, it might actually be a benefit because the file can be played back from the local cache without the user having to access the web again. However, if maintaining more control or digital rights are concerns, streaming video is a better option.

When to Use Progressive Download

Progressive download is a perfect use for hobbyists and students, or for websites that have low traffic requirements that need to deliver only short videos. Developers who want to offer the best video experience and better control over their video delivery, or those who need advanced features (such as displaying video to large audiences, tracking, and reporting video viewing statistics) should consider streaming video.

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive:

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020