Chapter TWO (continued) MEDIA PLAYER TECHNOLOGIES — QuickTime 7

MEDIA PLAYER TECHNOLOGIES
QuickTime Player
The latest version of the QuickTime player is 7.0; (my original review was based on version 6.5 in 2004), 7.0 and its older basic version of 6.5 meet the requirements of a media player to allow streams of audio/video information that are encoded in a compatible format to be received and played back.  Although originally developed by Apple for MAC users, the QT player has become an established cross-platform player with Apple reporting 10 million downloads a month of the software.[i]  Operating systems supported with version 7.3 include Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, and Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Vista (no mention of Windows 7 in the User Guide for 7.3). The Operating systems supported with version 6.5 include Mac OS X , Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows 2000, and Windows XP, so you should stay with that version if you have not upgraded Windows recently.
The free player also included additional modules, Browser Plug-Ins for viewing media within a web page, and a PictureViewer that allows Windows users to work with still images (Preview is available already on the MAC OS).  The player has enhanced its long list of advanced features and compatibility with some of the most advanced audio/video standards out there, including MPEG4, AAC audio format, 3GPP and 3GPP2 wireless standards, as well as the more established MP3, MPEG2, previous QT formats and others.
It provides many controls that enhance the listener/viewer experience including easy-to-use controls, an enhanced interface, separate bass and treble controls (under A/V controls tab), a balance control, and streaming media support.  Combined with its advanced capabilities, and its newly introduced capability to extend the reach of rich multimedia to a new generation of wireless handheld devices, a webcaster would be well served by compatibility with the QT format.
In addition to the advanced features of the QT player, it also provides an easy gateway into the authoring environment with an upgrade to QuickTime Pro.  The upgrade is accomplished by the purchase of a $29.99 software “key” directly from Apple.
The user now has now opened up a full-featured authoring/encoding environment that allows for the creation of content to be fed to a QT Streaming server for Internet distribution.  QT Pro also provides some enhancements to the player capability, allowing the use of a full screen mode as well as some archival and editing capabilities.  Refer to the section on QuickTime Pro in Authoring/Encoding Section of this chapter for additional detail.
Personal experience with the use of the QT player revealed some difficulty streaming certain video clips on the Apple download site with the older version of QT 5.0.  Although this was corrected by an upgrade to 6.5, unfortunately the upgrade also defeated the functionality of an older version of QT Pro purchased several years earlier; this required an upgrade to the new version if I wanted to restore the capabilities that QT Pro provided.
I elected to upgrade the player anyway, and was very impressed with the sound quality of several downloads available from Rhino records site.  (http://www.rhino.com/fun/listeningparties/78042_PartyPlayer.lasso).  Listening with QT 6.5 over a broadband cable modem connection was very close to listening to CD quality audio, as promised.
Since the basis of this report is compatibility with music and Internet Radio, I am confining most of my comments to this area.  However, the QT Player is designed to handle much more than Internet radio as you can see from the supported file types.
In fact on the Rhino site I offered as an example, the video played flawlessly with outstanding audio quality.  However, the QT player appeared to have some difficulty with some self-encoded .mp4 files that other players are able to handle, but  I am not inclined to denigrate its video capability at this time.  I plan to offer a comparative analysis of the players by running real time Internet radio stations, such  as Seaford Surf Radio and others that show multiple player options on their websites.  At that time I will detail my experiences on the blog with video playback as well, in comparison to the other players.
http://www.seafordsurfradio.com/#/contact/4558923884
(Note: SSR does not currently offer QT compatibility, but I will be using it to compare RealPlayer, WINamp, and WMP)
An Overview of the Types of Files QuickTime Supports:
Video formats: MOV, MPEG-1, MPEG-2,1 MPEG-4, 3GPP, 3GPP2, JPEG, DV, Motion JPEG, AVI, MQV, H.264
Audio formats: AIFF/AIFC, Audio CD, CAF, MOV, MP3, MPEG-4, AU, WAV, iTunes audio
Still-image formats: BMP, GIF, JPEG/JFIF, JPEG 2000, PDF, MacPaint, PICT, PNG,
Photoshop (including layers), SGI, Targa, FlashPix (including layers), TIFF (including  layers)
Animation formats: Animated GIF, FLC, Flash, PICS
Other formats: KAR (Karaoke), MIDI, QuickDraw GX, QuickTime Image File,
QuickTime VR, Text
For more details on the QT player, refer to http://www.apple.com/quicktime/.
An Overview of the Advanced Features of  QuickTime Pro:
QuickTime 7 Pro users enjoy not only all the great features in QuickTime Player, but also the following new QuickTime Pro capabilities:
Create H.264 video. Use this codec for all your video encoding needs. Create
content ranging in size from HD (high definition) to 3G (for mobile devices), and
everything in between.
Create surround audio. Create a rich multimedia experience for your customers by adding multi-channel audio to your movie. If some of your customers don’t have surround speakers, don’t worry; QuickTime automatically mixes the audio to work with the speaker setup of each user.
Improved movie authoring. Editing tasks are much easier with new hot keys for in and out points. In addition, the Movie Properties interface has been completely redesigned to facilitate simple and efficient movie authoring.
New AAC constant-quality mode. Create AAC audio files optimized for constant quality rather than a constant bit rate for a consistently high-quality listening experience.
3G streaming. Create 3G files for RTSP streaming that are fully interoperable with other 3G streaming handsets and delivery architectures.
Conform to Aperture. View a movie’s aperture mode, and choose to have the movie conform to new aperture settings, including pixel shape.
Deinterlace source video. When exporting with the “Movie to QuickTime Movie” option, you can now deinterlace the video by setting an option in Export Size settings.
Export to Apple TV, iPod, and iPhone. New presets allow you to easily export your movies in formats optimized for use with Apple TV, iPod, and iPhone.
Export for Web. Automatically creates versions of a movie that are optimized for both web and iPhone delivery, a reference movie that automatically selects the appropriate version for playback, and an HTML snippet file that you can use to embed the movie on a web page.
Concurrent exports. Export multiple files simultaneously—and continue with your next playback or editing task.
QuickTime Features downloaded 04/24/2012 from Quicktime User Guide at link below.  To see the complete User Guide, please download from link:
 http://images.apple.com/quicktime/pdf/QuickTime7_User_Guide.pdf


[i] QuickTime FAQ.  Downloaded 02/09/04 from:
http://www.apple.com/quicktime/products/qt/faq.html

mike

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