Recognizing the drawback of requiring a costly playback adapter, Apple developed a video format that can be played without special add-on hardware. The result, QuickTime, represents a major milestone for digital video. It provides a multimedia architecture that synchronises all types of digital media, including video, sound, text, graphics and music. On playback QuickTime movies gracefully drop video frames as necessary to maintain continuous sound synchronisation. Such scalability was a major breakthrough, transforming the Macintosh into a viable video playback platform. While early QuickTime movies were typically grainy postage-stamp-size windows (160×120 pixels) with jerky motion (12 fps), the format has matured to deliver full-frame (640×480), full-motion (30 fps) video suitable for professional applications. Due to its well-defined hardware abstraction layer, QuickTime is a cross-platform standard, with versions running on Windows- and NT-based PCs and UNIX-based workstations in addition to its native Apple Macintosh environment. Its open architecture supports many file formats and codecs, including Cinepak, Indeo, Motion JPEG and MPEG-1, and is extensible to support future codecs, such as DVCAM.

 

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