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QuickTime 6 'Ready for Release' But ...

Schiller says delivery held up by licensing issues By Dave Nagel
At the QuickTime Live conference in Los Angeles today, Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, said QuickTime 6 is ready for release, but licensing issues are still holding up the actual delivery of the new version. As we have reported before, QuickTime 6 will be completely rebuilt to include MPEG-4 at its core, and some of the technologies involved in the MPEG-4 standard have not yet been made available by the companies that own them. According to Apple, software that is currently dependent upon QuickTime will not be adversely affected by the change to the MPEG-4 core.

Apple also today announced a new piece of software called QuickTime Broadcaster and a new version of the QuickTime Streaming Server. Both are free downloads from the Apple site. However, the Broadcaster software, being based on MPEG-4, will be delayed until licensing issues are resolved. The new, free streaming server is available now. It supports MPEG-4 but is not built around MPEG-4 technology.

QuickTime 6's MPEG-4 profiles will include Simple and Advanced Simple. For audio, it will include support for AAC audio using the High-Quality profile. Profiles are subsets in the MPEG-4 standard that limit the types of data a decoder has to deal with. Simple and Advanced Simple are two related visual profiles specified in MPEG-4. High-Quality Audio is an audio profile that contains the CELP speech coder and the Low-Complexity AAC coder.

Frank Casanova, director of QuickTime product marketing at Apple, said in a previous interview with us that he expects to see AAC audio overtake MP3 as the Internet audio standard. "You can do incredibly good jobs with audio at a much smaller file size and lower data rate and get even better sounding quality than MP3 is providing," he said. "I think, over time, we'll see AAC supplant MP3 as the digital audio standard. That's the direction we're headed."

In a prepared statement on the MPEG-4 licensing issue, Apple said, "Although the QuickTime 6 software is complete and ready for release, Apple is delaying its release until MPEG-4 video licensing terms are improved. The MPEG-4 licensing terms proposed by MPEG-LA (the largest group of MPEG-4 patent holders) includes royalty payments from companies, like Apple, who ship MPEG-4 codecs, as well as royalties from content providers who use MPEG-4 to stream video. Apple agrees with paying a reasonable royalty for including MPEG-4 codecs in QuickTime, but does not believe that MPEG-4 can be successful in the marketplace if content owners must also pay royalties in order to deliver their content using MPEG-4."

We will continue to bring you updates from the QuickTime Live show, including another interview with Frank Casanova later this week. For more information, visit or

Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications. You can reach him at

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