Play FLV files through QuickTime

Perian: The swiss-army knife for QuickTime

Perian is a FREE QuickTime plugin that greatly expands on the formats that QuickTime can play.

For me, the coolest thing is the ability to play Flash Video (FLV) files through QuickTime. I tend to save a lot of videos I find on YouTube, and until now I’ve had to either convert them to another format, or use FLVThing to play them. With Perian, QuickTime can play those files directly.

Check out the site for the complete list of formats Perian can play. I didn’t see installation instructions on the site, but all you have to do is copy the plugin to /Library/QuickTime or your-user-folder/Library/QuickTime. You may need to create the folder if you decide to place it in your user folder.

For some reason, the download links on the Perian site aren’t working, but you can get the plugin over at Cool OSX Apps.

UPDATE (11/05/2009): QuickTime X (part of 10.6 Snow Leopard) seems to play flv files without the aid of Perian. So, unless you need Perian for another format you should be able to uninstall it. Thanks Lee!

13 thoughts on “Play FLV files through QuickTime”

  1. This is not true! FLV files can not be played in QuickTime (Leopard) even when I have Perian 1.1 installed. It simply won’t show anything inside the window. What is this all about ?!!

  2. @ homemade, Keep in mind that this post was written almost 2 years ago… but, it actually does work just fine under Leopard. I’m running OS X 10.5.4, QT 7.5, and Perian 1.1. I can play FLV files through QuickTime player with no problems.

    I think you may have some other conflicts in your system.

  3. Joe – QuickTime can export out, but not all audio codecs are supported. Your best bet is to export out as MPEG-4 (H.264 Video and AAC-LC audio).

  4. Someone send me a .flv file. I was going to give them the stock answer that I tend to work just with .movs but I thought this time I’d try to be accommodating. Thanks to Perian it was no skin off my nose. So quick and easy I sound like an infomercial!

    Great plugin. Neat & lovingly presented site and completely user-friendly.

  5. @Lee: I’m finding QT X is not playing .flv files. This is on a MacMini about as fresh from the factory as is possible, with updates installed.

    I haven’t given this a go on the (relatively new) MacBook Pro, but I can’t think of a reason the platform should make a difference. discusses the formats natively supported by QT X, and discusses additional formats supported by 3rd party codec components.

  6. .flv will not play in snow leopard even with perian installed — i am running a macpro quad 2.66 and i have reloaded both tube tv and perian to download a dilbert cartoon from youtube but it does not work. Any ideas?

  7. @Al – Sorry, no ideas on what may be wrong. Perian worked fine for me. Strangely, flv’s played even after I uninstalled it though. It’s possible the encoding of the flv’s may be the issue. There are a few different codecs that can be used for Flash video (On2, Sorenson Spark, etc…).

  8. Thanks for this cool plugin for QuickTime to play .flv and other open source formats.

    FYI: I have noticed that Perian website has .dmg file for download and on the download tab there is a tiny one statement installation instruction

    “Installation: Open the disk image and double click the Perian.prefPane icon. “

Leave a Comment