QuickTime is a multimedia framework from Apple that can be used to work with various forms of media including images, audio, and video.
The first version of Quicktime was released in 1991 and enjoyed broad popularity and adoption during the 1990s and early 2000s. QuickTime can be used for a variety of purposes including media editing, desktop playback, and as a plugin for streaming media on the web. More recently, media handling on the web has transitioned to the technologies built natively into HTML, and the use of third party plugins and applications such as QuickTime has decreased.
QuickTime is available for both Windows and Apple computers though the most recent version of QuickTime was only developed for Apple platforms and newer graphic frameworks have been implemented to replace the use of QuickTime even on Apple computers.
Frequently Asked Questions
What types of files can QuickTime play?
QuickTime can handle most common types of audio, video, and image files including MOV, AIFF, MP3, WAV, AVI, GIF, PNG, TIFF, JPEG, MPEG, and much more.
How much does QuickTime cost?
Quicktime Player 7 Basic is available as a free download for both PC and Mac computers from Apple's website. The newest version of QuickTime, QuickTime X, is only available as part of the latest Apple operating system, Mac OS X. No plans have been announced to offer QuickTime X for PC computers, and developers for Apple systems have been encouraged to transition multimedia content from QuickTime to AV Foundation.
Several upgraded features are available with the purchase of a QuickTime Player 7 Pro licence. This includes enhanced video editing, exporting of multimedia content into a variety of formats, and the saving of QuickTime format movies from the web directly to a computer hard drive.
What are some alternatives to QuickTime?
In the past, it was necessary to use a third-party plugin such as QuickTime or Flash to play media content. However, rendering of images, and playback of video, and audio content is now supported natively by HTML, and third-party applications such as QuickTime are generally no longer needed.
While QuickTime is still available as a free download, and actively supported by Apple, if you are looking for an alternative to the desktop version of QuickTime, you should consider VLC media player and RealPlayer.
Do I need QuickTime to view videos saved in MOV format?
There are several other media players and browser plugins capable of playing movies saved in QuickTime's native MOV format including the VLC media player for desktop viewing, and Adobe Flash for viewing media on the web.
What makes QuickTime an attractive platform for media editing
When a file is saved by QuickTime into it's native file format each part of the multimedia content is stored separately. This means that in a QuickTime file the audio, video, and text are all stored separately. As a result, it's possible to edit any single part of the content without affecting the other parts. This makes QuickTime particularly well-suited for use as a video editing format.