A multimedia Flash player is a plug-in software application that allows computer users to view graphical presentations, animations, and videos that are posted on dynamic websites. This player is classified as a Rich Internet Application (RIA) because it needs to be downloaded and installed on users' hard drives in order to interact correctly with the given website content. Playing Internet-based games, viewing advertisements, and watching streaming movies or television shows frequently requires the use of a multimedia Flash player as well.
The most popular multimedia Flash player is one that can be used with different browsers as well as operating systems, which is also known as a cross-platform computer Flash player. This application is also often available to download to mobile devices with Internet access for easy viewing on the go. One of the most common portable devices is a multimedia MP3 player that can be used to store music and other digital files obtained through the technology of a Flash player plug-in. Web developers write the content for Flash players using a specialized Web programming language that can be modified to render different types of images with sound, usually raster and vector images. While the Flash player itself is generally available as a free plug-in application, much of the multimedia Flash player software for writing content is proprietary and usually requires purchase.
One of the main benefits to a Flash player is easy content portability. The most commonly installed players are programmed to condense files into smaller vector formats, a feature that goes a long way in eliminating lag time that can be spent waiting for larger graphics or video uploads to load on any particular website. Another attractive selling point to a computer Flash player is its capability of storing and retrieving user data such as game scores and customized settings for sites that users visit frequently.
The home theater Flash player is an option for users who want to stream and enjoy Web content on their television screens. This media setup requires certain hardware, namely a receiver that can establish a broadband connection to the Internet. Many of these home theater systems also require the receiver to be plugged into a computer modem, though some receivers have wireless connectivity to a router as an alternative method. In addition to viewing interactive websites with graphics, this kind of multimedia Flash player can be used for viewing on-demand movies and listening to music files.