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Snow Leopard In Depth: QuickTime X

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Quicktime X Icon

QuickTime has been around since well before OS X, dating back to 1991, but this old dog gets new life in the next version of the Mac OS (s aapl). QuickTime X, as the new release has been named, follows the theme of Snow Leopard by incorporating both refinements and new technologies. QuickTime player has a new interface that simplifies playback and new capabilities that enhance performance and allow you to create and share video content.

Black Bezels Are the New Black

The new QuickTime X features a simplified and “uncluttered” interface for playback. The playback controls have been removed from the bottom bar and have been moved to an on-screen layer when you mouse over a video. The general effect is that you only see the black title bar in Snow Leopard and the rest of the interface disappears so you can focus your attention on the video itself. A nice little touch and I think very easy for most people that are used to the keyboard controls from previous incarnations of QuickTime Player or iTunes.


Video Killed the Radio Star

Or maybe video created the next YouTube star? In QuickTime X, the player application has been expanded to include video capture, either from the built-in webcam in your Mac or from a USB-tethered camera. QuickTime includes simple controls for trimming video so you can get just the right amount of lead-in for your next YouTube masterpiece, and then cut the lead-out just before your neighbor pops in to ask if they can borrow a cup of sugar. Just drag the yellow handles left and right to set the clip that will be exported.


Sharing these videos to YouTube, MobileMe, email, or your iTunes library is a one-click affair.


Technological Enhancements

QuickTime X is optimized for the critical HD codecs H.264 and AAC with a new foundation that should provide stutter-free playback on current computers. The player allows using hardware acceleration for H.264, which should help with HD video in that format. Also new is support for HTTP streaming, which allows QuickTime to stream content that is delivered by a web server, rather than just content from a specialized streaming server. This should help improve playback of videos from web accounts like MobileMe galleries. QuickTime X can also take advantage of new technologies in Snow Leopard like 64-bit addressing and Grand Central Dispatch to speed up performance.

Whither QuickTime Pro?

Absent from yesterday’s announcements was any mention of QuickTime X Pro. I am going to indulge my optimistic side and declare that the Pro version is no more and Apple (s aapl) is going to provide all the features of QuickTime Pro as part of the standard app in Snow Leopard. This is a welcome change in an age when multimedia playback, and even media creation, has been standard on the Mac platform for a good many years.

What About DVD Player?

I can’t help but wonder if DVD Player is going to get the same H.264 accelerated love from Apple, or if this feature is being folded into QuickTime Player. There is a new chapter navigation interface in QuickTime Player that would be great for DVD movies, too. Frankly, DVD Player needs to get caught up to the Blu-ray age and the H.264 improvements in QuickTime would be welcome in an HD-capable DVD Player.

80 Responses to “Snow Leopard In Depth: QuickTime X”

  1. If QTX is full-featured, where in blazes is the “open image sequence” menu item? Good thing I’d moved QT7Pro into a separate folder; it survived the upgrade, … I’m tempted to simply delete X but here’s hoping there’ll be a pro version available shortly.

  2. QuickTime X
    1. Having two versions of quicktime is a bad idea.
    2. QuickTime X has the control panel over the video. WTF, this is the worst design decision ever. Why would I want to look a control panel? I want to see my video. Maybe the designer was so impressed with their control panel they though everyone would rather look the buttons then the movie.
    3. Too many complaints to list.

    I will avoid using QuickTime X, and continue using QT7.

    • Agreed.

      Really bad idea indeed. In fact if you would ask me I would say that Apple is becoming more and more of a iPhone, iPod oriented company and less and less of a Pro level software company.

      Mactards will never realize that because all they do is sync their iSomethings, do cheap YouTube videos and check their e-mails.

      OSX Snow Leopard, crashes way more than a correctly configured Windows 7 running on a Octa core and Apple still overlooks basic things like a address bar for the finder so you can easily browse hidden folders, copy paths, etc without having to click at least three places to get a approximate answer, just plain stupid.

      The lack of the “open image sequence” in QTX is just too stupid to even allow you to consider QTX as a full featured QuickTime version. This version is a major downgrade for anyone that really knows what QuickTime used to be able to do. Not to mention that QTX core is still 32bit and not 64bit as Apple leads people to believe.

      Being forced to run two versions of the same app is just a cherry on the top of the cake.

    • beneluxe

      “2. QuickTime X has the control panel over the video. WTF, this is the worst design decision ever. ”

      At work we evaluate motion tests and scrub a lot – this bad UI over video makes QT basically unusable.

  3. But I read that uicktime 7 will get moved to the Utilities folder so if there are some things Qt X won’t do you can still use the old version 7. I’m not liking the sound of limited export options. I’ve just recently figured how to make 700 meg divx’s, would like to continue.

  4. The trim feature is RUBBISH! QT7 is much better.

    What if you want to trim a clip to the tenth of a second. In QT7 you could nudge the clip along a single frame at a time and the ‘trim’ selctors move too.

    Seems to me you just cant do it QT 10 (X)

    I would love someone to correct me on this as I just cant seem to do it…

  5. debohun

    Why should there even be separate DVD and Quicktime (and iMovie ) applications (plus QuickLook). All of this functionality overlaps and could be incorporated into a single application, or at most two (an editor and viewer), which would be more in line with Apple’s philosophy of simpler is better. Ditto for Quicklook, Preview and iPhoto. Quicklook builds all of these players (viewers) into the system, so a unified editor for any specific media format should be the goal, shouldn’t it?

  6. Installed Snow Leopard and all seems well. The only disappointment for me so far is Quicktime X, which is not like QT Pro at all. No wide range of export possibilities, only YouTube, AppleTV and MobileMe… The editing functionality is also crippled. It was not that easy to use in the earlier QT, but once you got the hang of it, it was very powerful: adding / removing soundtracks, playing with Alpha channels, effects and whatnot. It is no longer there. The ‘Cmd-J’ hot key is no longer there. ‘Add to movie’ is no longer there. I will hang on to QT 7 for quite some time I guess..

  7. Honestly…this is the FUGLIEST Apple design I have ever seen.

    What reason could they possible have for ONLY making quicktimeX black.

    Not a Vista hater, but way to go copying the Vista taskbar look.

  8. The title bar disappears too, when you move the mouse out of the window playing video.

    To quote the presenters, “your content takes center-stage”.

    I’d imaging the Apple Remote could be used to control playback too, for those people who don’t want bezels with mousing controls showing up over their videos.

  9. str1f3

    I likethe black title bar. More evidence of “Marble” that will be coming in 10.7 I pray that we have the Quicktime pro features in there or it will be a crippled QuickTime. At least give me the option of paying $20. QuickTime pro is invaluable because of its power.

  10. Lucky

    I don’t like the title bar. Never did since I saw early leaks. It’s like a child made it. That gradient is so wrong. It’s probably going to be fixed by the end, if someone realizes it.

    A softer gradient would be much better and closer to the gradient used in standard windows. Or maybe just a transparent black would be enough, like a HUD window.

  11. The in-player capture is pretty cool, but I dislike the “controls over the video” thing. It’s a personal preference; I don’t like having playback controls over the content, as it blocks said content (even if for just a moment, but it bugs me).

    Still, technological upgrades are technological upgrades, and that’s a good thing.

  12. I doubt much will change in DVDPlayer, if you look at the first foot note in the 64bit section of the Snow Leopard pages you’ll find the DVDPlayer is one of the few applications which have not been re-written in 64bit code. It could still have been updated (one of the other non-64bit apps is iTunes) but the tech specs page also only lists SuperDrive as required for DVDPlayer.

    I too would love some Blu-Ray love in OS X, but then as I have a 2007 iMac with a Radeon HD2600 I can’t even get OpenCL love in Snow Leopard :(