What’s new about QuickTime X?

Now that it’s official – Snow Leopard is coming out Friday August 28th, and we’ve already discussed whether you should upgrade or not. Let’s explore one of OS X’s core applications that’s getting a complete overhaul for 10.6. I’m talking about the new QuickTime X, Apple’s other audio / video player and now much, much more.

Entirely New Application:

Apple didn’t just patch, tweak or otherwise plug in new features to QuickTime X from an old version, it’s a completely new application. With iTunes handling much of the average Mac user’s media tasks, it’s easy to forget about QuickTime Player. A good way to think about QuickTime X is like Preview. It’s powerful, quick, light and does the job. Preview can handle photos, and it’s much simpler to use than iPhoto. QuickTime X can handle many different music and video formats and it’s also much simpler to use than iTunes.

New features to QuickTime X include:

– A clean, uncluttered interface with controls that fade out.
– Audio / Video capture using the built in camera / mic or an external camera.
– Basic video editing.
– Quick and easy publishing to MobileMe or YouTube.
– Re-written and 64 Bit / Grand Central optimized.

New Video Streaming Capabilities:

Last but not least, is a new and pretty powerful feature – the ability to stream video over HTTP connections using a standard web server. In the past, you would set up a special QuickTime Broadcasting server, now this function can be set using a web server and common internet ports. Much easier to set up and get working in today’s days of strict firewall policies. You won’t even need the QuickTime Broadcaster application anymore.

Additionally, the broadcast can dynamically adjust quality settings depending on your connection speed. So if you’re watching over 3G, WiFi, Wired or even an Edge connection, playback won’t be stuttered and stopping.

Additional Improvements:

Not only is Quicktime X including new features, it’s also full of improvements, or as Apple likes to say now – refinements. Such refinements include:

– Optimized codec support for more efficient playback.
– Stutter free playback of HD content on nearly all 10.6 systems
– Supports GPU acceleration for H.264 video decoding.

For those out there who are familiar with the old QuickTime Pro, you’ll notice that some of these features used to be exclusive to the paid-for pro version. Not any more. QuickTime Pro seems to be fading away, perhaps discontinued? Or perhaps it will come back, even more powerful.. In any case, QuickTime X is a more than welcome refinement to one of OS X’s core applications and another reason why upgrading to Snow Leopard is a good idea.

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