What's the Difference? Flash Player and Flash Projector

So what's the difference between the Flash Player and Flash Projector?

The main difference between the Flash projector and the Flash player is the file type. Both of them are the file types that let people watch your movies once you have exported them from Flash, much like a video format.

Flash Player

The Flash player is a program, or plugin, that allows you to play SWF files on your computer. Whether in an open player window (the program) or in a browser window (the plugin).

It must be installed on your computer for you to be able to play Flash content. Odds are though, you already of it installed, a lot of big sites use Flash player to run their videos, like YouTube.

Flash Projector

The Flash projector, however, is a standalone file that allows you to run Flash content from your desktop without any plugins or other programs. This can be useful when distributing content via CD or DVD and you're not sure if your other person has the required plugins or players. When you export as a projector file, Flash saves your SWF as an executable program with a .exe (Windows) or .hqx (Macintosh) extension. Any user with or without the Flash player installed can run these executable files.

Generally, though, I've never used the Flash projector file type. Almost everybody has Flash player already installed on their machine, and realistically you should be making your films into .mov or .mp4 files if you want to distribute them to friends and family.

So if you have to choose between the two, I'd always go with Flash player and an exported swf.