When it comes to Web-based video, Adobe's Flash format dominates. From YouTube to MySpace to eWEEK video, the majority of video on the Web is Flash.
But while Flash has lots of benefits for developers and content producers, consumers often find it an unfriendly format when it comes to using video outside of the Web.
If a user wants to download Flash video to his or her desktop for use on a mobile device, or for fair use such as in schoolwork or research or for (let's face it) less legal reasons, there are many roadblocks that make this difficult, from sites that make it hard to download Flash files to the lack of support for the Flash format itself on many mobile devices.
There are some free tools and browser plug-ins available that attempt to help users download Flash files, but in my experience these don't always work and can be difficult to use. That's why when the $29.95 GetFLV application crossed my desk I was intrigued enough to give it a try.
GetFLV is a Windows-based application that pretty much worked like a charm when it came to downloading Flash files and converting them to a wide variety of different video formats, from MP4 to WMV to MOV to 3GP.
GetFLV has an integrated Web browser that I was able to use to browse to sites containing Flash content. Once on the Web page, the GetFLV browser displayed all of the videos and provided the option to download the video files.
Once this started I could open the FLV Downloader to see the status of my downloads. In here I could pause and restart downloads and could also sort and categorize the Flash content I had downloaded.
Conversions can be done directly from this screen by right-clicking and choosing the desired option or by navigating to the FLV to Video Converter screen. The converter provided a wide number of video options to convert my Flash content to and results overall were very good. GetFLV also provides the option to take standard video content and convert it to Flash.
Another interesting option in GetFLV is the option to strip the audio out of a Flash movie and save it as a separate MP3 file.
In general I found that GetFLV delivered on its promise and provided a simple tool for downloading, converting and managing Flash video. Though I wouldn't be surprised if some sites and business segments frowned on the capabilities of this tool.
A trial version of GetFLV can be downloaded at www.getflv.net, though this version only supports 10MB or smaller downloads. The full version can also be purchased at this site.