With the release of Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6) this week, we finally get to see QuickTime X.
Simply put, QuickTime X is, as predicted, a simplified media player and simplified architecture optimized for playback of linear video streams. Most of what made QuickTime interesting to interactive authorers back a few years, is not present in QuickTime X.
We gain some new features: 2.2 gamma, screen capture and easily publish to major online video sharing sites. Screen capture is a nice addition and easy sharing probably would have been predictable if we’d seen Final Cut Pro 7 earlier.
The 2.2 gamma will no doubt take some time to get full adoption but at least it provides a way for us to add or change a color profile. Files with color profiles automatically adjust display to look correct on all screen. (At least, that’s the theory.) Within the Final Cut Studio it seems that correct gamma will be maintained *if* conversions are done with Compressor and not QuickTime 7’s Pro Player.
Chapter display has changed from a pop-up text list to thumbnail images. Better for consumer focused movies; less good for professionals.
Fortunately, it’s not an either/or. You can choose to install QuickTime 7.6 in addition to QuickTime X. If you try and access a movie that requires QT 7 features, users will be prompted to install QT 7 (aka “the real QuickTime!). If you want to make sure it’s installed, Apple have instructions on installing it.
So that’s the story of QuickTime X – a simple, consumer-focused player with a modern-looking interface, just as I predicted a little over a year ago.
Added 8/31 Just got this off a QT Apple email list. It’s not an official word from Apple but I think it sums it up well:
Quicktime X at this time isn’t a replacement to Quicktime 7, just allows faster multi-threaded playback of some of the older codecs.
Added 9/1 Ars Technica has a deep article on the difference between QT X and QT 7 and how QTkit negotiates between them, that confirms I got my “educated guesses” right and provides more depth in how Apple achieves this.