Quick Time is an incredibly versatile multimedia framework that was first developed by Apple in the early 90’s (when it was the first software able to play video footage on a computer) and has over the past 20 years become the diamond standard in multimedia playback and conversion software.
Although it is owned by Apple, Quick Time is available for all Windows operating systems from Windows XP onwards and is now one of the most widely used pieces of software in the world thanks to its high compatibility rate with most audio, video and pictures files and its incredibly simple to use interface. Quick Time was first brought into the world in December 1991, when it was little more than an add-on for Apples ‘System 6’ operating system. This was a basic media add-on but it was the most powerful software of its kind available at the time (Microsofts competing tech dubbed ‘video for windows) was not released until almost a year later and was nowhere near as useable).
With the release of Quick Time 3.0 in 1998, Apple began offering the standard Quick Time software for free, with additional features unlocked by purchasing a Quick Time ‘Pro’ license. This is the same model that exists today. Over the ensuing decade a further 6 iterations of Quick Time were released, each one adding more power, more features and more stability, with each fresh release adapting to the performance abilities of hardware available at the time. It was with the release of Quick Time X in 2009 that the software truly reached its potential though.
The features available to you with Quick Time depend on wether you opt for the standard freeware or the ‘Pro’ option. The standard Quick Time player comes with a video player, audio player and picture viewer, all of which are incredibly intuitive and support the majority of files types. In terms of editing and transcoding, the options in the movie player are few and far between but considering how many file types are supported by the software, unless you’re using it for professional purposes there is very little chance you’d need to use such tools. The picture viewer and audio player are also pretty bare bones but they work effectively with almost every file format under the sun and are generally more stable than software such as Apple’s own ‘Preview’ and ‘iTunes’ or Microsoft’s ‘Photo Viewer’ and ‘Media Player’.
With the pro license activated though the feature set expands exhaustively to include features such as file conversion that can optimise your videos for a variety of formats including phones, tablets and portable games consoles. It’s also possibly with Quick Time Pro to record audio and video directly to your computer and then edit the resulting footage. The editing options might not be as in depth as software like Final Cut Pro but it’s much more streamlined and stable. Quick Time Pro users can also use the software to broadcast live streams thanks to the bespoke Quick Time ‘Broadcaster’ and there are more options for sharing your video, audio and pictures with friends, fans and well wishers on YouTube, Facebook and Flickr. Other features offered with a pro license include the ability to add effects to your work, create slide shows with music, copy and paste internet media, create designer skins, resize and trim movies and even add copyright watermarks to your films.
When it first dropped into the market, Quick Time was really the only software that could play multiple video, audio and picture file formats but in 2013 it’s an incredibly crowded field and Quick Time has had to really up its game in order to keep its head above the melange of inferior imitators. By far the software’s most obvious boon is that the standard Quick Time software is free to download for both Apple and Windows operating systems. It is also pre-installed with a number of codecs that not only allow the software to play almost all standard video, music and picture files, but also (with a pro licence) allows users to convert files into almost any format.
There are numerous open source video players available for both Mac and PC (such as ‘M Player’ and ‘VLC’) as well as in-built players such as the Windows Media Player and iTunes, but both lack the compatibility rate of Quick Time and are generally far slower and less reliable. Adobe are perhaps the main rivals when it comes to reliable and consistent audio, picture and video player software but there is no piece of Adobe software that does all three at once like Quick Time does.
Quick Time is a convenient, deceptively powerful and (most importantly) stable piece of software that has been subtly evolving for almost 2 decades now. It is used worldwide by millions of personal users, businesses and even in broadcasting. With software this versatile at your fingertips for free, why ever look elsewhere?
About Apple Inc
Apple Computer Inc was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Roland Wayne as a means to mass produce and sell the (at the time) revolutionary Apple 1 computer, a personal computer hand built by Wozniak. It was with the release of the Apple 2 desktop computer that the company really started making waves though, and with the launch of the 'Macintosh' brand of computers in the mid 80's it cemented itself as one of the worlds leading personal computer brands. Whilst the company suffered throughout the 90's as a result of Microsofts dominance of the computer market, Apple made a bold come-back towards the turn of the century with the introduction of the sleek, affordable 'iMac' all-in-one computer and the iPod personal mp3 player. Six years later the iPhone was announced and the rest (as they say) is history.
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