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QuickTime 6.3 Adds 3GPP, Improves iApp Support

Apple has released QuickTime 6.3, the latest version of its foundation digital media technology. Version 6.3 offers improvements to DV audio and video synchronization (helpful for video authoring applications) along with specific improvements for Apple’s Keynote, iMovie, and iDVD applications. Version 6.3 also includes "automatic detection of streaming transport," which, though unspecified, presumably means QuickTime better handles media being accessed via network streams rather than from local devices.

Perhaps more significantly, QuickTime 6.3 also includes support for 3GPP media, an extension of the MPEG-4 standard aimed at delivering rich media over wireless broadband networks (like Apple’s AirPort) to a variety of wireless devices. (3GPP stands for 3rd Generation Partnership Project; Apple has collected together some basic information and pointers. The format already sees growing use among mobile phone and PDA users in Asia and Europe.) QuickTime 6.3’s 3GPP support incorporates an H.263 video codec (often used in video conferencing), an AMR (Adaptive Multi-Rate) audio codec (which is a narrowband codec especially useful for speech), and support for 3G Text (TX3G) which is a text track that can be synchronized with audio or video. The basic idea behind 3GPP support is that people creating content in QuickTime could deploy that content to wireless devices like mobile phones, PDAs, and computers using a single format, and have the media automatically scale to the capabilities of the device.

QuickTime 6.3 is available as a 20 MB download via Software Update; a separate standalone installer is also available. 3GPP playback and authoring support requires the 3GPP component, which must be downloaded separately. QuickTime 6.3 is available for Mac OS 10.2.3 or later, Mac OS X 10.1.5, Mac OS 8.6 or 9.x, and Windows 98/Me/2000/XP; 3GPP support is not available for the classic Mac OS. Updating to QuickTime Pro – which unlocks authoring features in the QuickTime applications – still costs $30.

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