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How To Convert FLV Video Files for Viewing On an iPad

Freeware Friday: Handbrake convert FLV files to an iOS-compatible format.

BYTE -- It's easy to convert FLV files for viewing on your iPad. To do that, I use Handbrake.

First, you need to download the FLV file through Safari. If you haven't downloaded FLV files before, check out my article on how to do it with Safari..

Head to the HandBrake site to get Handbrake for Mac. It's free, and I use it to convert FLV files to M4V format, which is compatible with all iOS devices.


On the left panel, hit Download.


Once it's downloaded, double-click on the icon to run the install.


You'll receive a notification when you first launch the program. It's just asking you if you're sure you want to run the software you just downloaded. Go ahead and click Open.


Upon launch, Handbrake will ask you to direct it to a video file you want to convert. For the sake of this tutorial, I didn't change the default location. It's under my Downloads folder. Click Open.


Here I just accept the default settings, which are fine. Just make sure you know where you intend to save the FLV file. I’m going to convert that file into an MP4 file with the same frame rate as the original. Again, these are default settings. Accept them, and you'll find your MP4 videos will play back perfectly on your iPad or other iOS device.


Now you'll have to wait awhile. It takes a lot of system resources to convert videos – for big files like public domain movies, it could take an hour or more. Hit Pause if you must, but it's better to get this over with.


Finally, you’ll see a message informing you that Handbrake is done. Put down that cocktail.


Now you have an M4V file as shown below.


Because we plan on keeping that one, let’s go ahead and rename it. Night of the Living Dead sounds about right, don't you think? It’s the public domain movie I just converted.


Double-click the file to open it. That will automatically launch and import the file to iTunes.


Check to see if it plays well on iTunes. If it doesn't, it won't play on the iPad. If you’ve followed the steps above, though, you should have no problem.


Now connect your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch -- any iOS device that has a video playback function will do.


Your iPad will show up in iTunes window as usual. Click on the Movies tab.


Make sure that your new video is set to import. Check the box beside the video and, in the right bottom corner of the screen, click Sync.


When the sync is complete, you'll get a notification that it's OK to disconnect your device.


Go back to your iPad. Tap on the Videos icon. On the iPhone, you’ll find it under iPod >> Videos.


This will launch your iPad's video app. On the top of the screen, hit the Movies tab.


Then tap on the movie you just imported and hit the Play.


Kick back and enjoy Night of the Living Dead or whatever public domain movie you converted over from the FLV format.

DISCLAIMER: It's illegal to pirate commercial videos and BYTE in no way recommends you violate local, state or federal law.


Based in McAllen, TX, Jacob Lopez is a senior editor at BYTE. Follow him @8bitjay and email him with news tips at jacob.lopez@BYTE.com .

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