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QuickTime 5 brings MacOS X feel to Windows

Fortunately, you can change the skin if you don't like Aqua

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Apple yesterday announced the latest version of its QuickTime multimedia authoring and playback technology, and released a public beta of the software.

Essentially, QuickTime 5 upgrades the existing software with some extra technology and brings the classic MacOS and Windows QuickTime Player application's interface into line with the version that ships with the MacOS X public beta.

So, for example, out goes the pull-down drawer of favourite files and movie servers, and in its place users get a TV button to select channels to watch. Also for the chop is the volume control dial, replaced with a more intuitive - and easier to use - slider.

QuickTime Player also borrows from the Windows and Linux world with support for alternative interface skins.

Under-the-hood changes include upgraded codecs, plus support for streamed MPEG 1 and Shoutcast data, and Flash files. New 'anti-skip' code also compensates for lost frames in streamed data, which Apple claims makes for less jittery Net playback.

Apple also appears to have put QuickTime's plug-in support back in, to allow third-parties to expand the software's core functionality. QuickTime 3 shipped with a number of Apple-provided plug-ins, though these disappeared with the release of version 4, primarily because they were integrated into the software.

The QuickTime 5 public beta is available now for Mac users, with a Windows version following by the end of the year. Apple will then roll out updates throughout 2001, so the final version will arrive gradually, as per QuickTime 4, rather than all in one go. ®

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