The typical media player can't handle Flash videos, so a variety of specialized players have sprung up for this purpose. Flash Player Pro is one such program, promising to both manage your library of Flash videos and allow you to download new ones. We tried out the trial version of the program, which is limited to 15 days of use and has a few other limitations. It worked well enough, but strange error messages caused us to waste time troubleshooting problems that didn't actually exist.
The program's interface is dated and not particularly attractive, but it's easy enough to figure out. A tree hierarchy lets users navigate to the directories where their Flash videos are stored; a pane below the tree hierarchy displays the contents of each folder. The large pane on the right holds the actual player. Flash Player Pro had no problem playing Flash videos that we already had, but downloading new ones proved to be unnecessarily confusing. We copied the URL of a video we wanted to download, posted it into the appropriate box on the interface, and clicked Go. The program displayed a list of Flash videos contained on the Web page, with check boxes allowing us to select which ones we wanted to download. This was all fairly straightforward, but every time we tried to download, the program displayed a vague error message at the end of the download causing us to think that it had failed. We were about to write Flash Player Pro off completely when we discovered that, in spite of the error messages, it actually had downloaded everything we'd asked it to. We liked some of its other features, such as its ability to take screen captures and set images from the videos as our desktop wallpaper. Perhaps our favorite thing about Flash Player Pro was that it let us convert the videos into screensavers, although these contained a green box noting that they had been created with the unregistered version of the software. The program comes with a Help file that's adequate, if not particularly thorough.
Weird error messages and funky interface aside, we were impressed with Flash Player Pro's features. It's worth checking out if you do a lot of work with Flash videos. The program installs and uninstalls without issues.
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of Flash Player Pro 5.3.
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