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Apple to add H.264 Advanced Video Codec to QuickTime

updated 10:05 am EDT, Wed June 23, 2004

New QuickTime codec

Apple today announced that the DVD Forum has ratified the H.264 Advanced Video Codec (AVC) to be included in the next generation High Definition (HD) DVD format. The H.264/AVC codec was jointly developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and has been ratified into the MPEG-4 specification as the next-generation video codec. H.264/AVC is based on open-standards and will ship in Apple's software in an upcoming release next year.

"Apple is firmly behind H.264 because it delivers superb quality digital video and is based on open standards that no single company controls," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "QuickTime 6 has already topped 250 million downloads, making it one of the most successful media standards ever, and we will be adding support for H.264 to QuickTime next year."

Apple says that H.264/AVC is an extremely scalable video codec, delivering excellent quality across the entire bandwidth spectrum--from high definition television to video conferencing and 3G mobile multimedia. As shown in a preview at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in April, video encoded at full high definition resolution (1920x1080 24p) was played back between 6.8MPbs and 8Mbps on a dual-processor Power Mac G5 delivering full HD quality at up to half the data rate of MPEG-2.

According to Frost & Sullivan's 2004 Global Media Streaming Platform Report, between 2002 and 2003 Microsoft's and Real Networks' worldwide market share percentages were either stable or declining while QuickTime's market share increased to 36.8 percent, a close second to Microsoft. Real Networks came in third place with less than 25 percent of the worldwide streaming market share. QuickTime 6.5, which also includes enhanced support for 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and 3GPP2 mobile networks, is available as a free download.

Earlier this month, Apple announced that more than 250 million copies of QuickTime 6 have been downloaded in less than two years since its release.

by MacNN Staff





  1. PookJP

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I'm assuming this is good due its relationship with Apple.

  1. eizzumdm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Next year?

    Next year? What about next week?

    And here I was hoping that H.264 would be part of an announcement of a major upgrade to QuickTime at WWDC.

  1. Cless

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Better than WMV9

    I'm glad the powers that be decided that H.264 will be part of the HDDVD format. Even though Microsoft's Windows Media is part of it as well, I have a feeling this codec will be more popular; cross platform, non-proprietary, etc.

  1. kentuckyfried

    Joined: Dec 1969


    please enlighten me..

    How does this affect us, the average Mac user?

  1. chas_m



    re: please enlighten me..

    How will it affect you, the average Mac user? Well ...

    1. Quicktime having a strong and growing marketshare will benefit you by allowing Apple to keep adding cool new features to it.

    2. There's a good possibility that this new codec will become the successor to MPEG-1 and MPEG-2, meaning one unified, cross-platform video "standard" that looks good on just about any machine - so that will benefit anyone who creates or downloads video to/from the web!

    3. Modern Macs are future-proofed against HD video when it starts to become widespread.

    4. Quicktime looks likely to stay THE defacto standard for the video industry as it moves into HDTV and HD-DVD, meaning that Apple will continue its dominance in fields like video production. This means a strong, loyal customer base that buy high-end, profitable machines, keeping the company profitable. This will benefit the "average mac user" by helping keep prices on all machines low.

    5. If I understand this codec correctly, one could digitize some video and then scale it easily for presentation almost anywhere, from on your cell phone to your website to your TV to a movie theatre. This opens up tremendous opportunities not just for the "pros," but for normal people with digital video cameras who want to share their stuff online/via phone.

    And that's just a start.

  1. pdot

    Joined: Dec 1969


    improve HD storage

    Once the new HD's get into the TB area (I know it will be a few more years), hi-res video (at half MPEG2 data rate) will be like what MPEG1 VCD videos are to us. I don't store VCD movies on my computer, but I do have TV episodes at half their file size.

  1. z10n

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I guess

    Stevo didn't have to approve this... here he told the MPAA to avoid HD-DVDs but now quicktime suddenly supports them?

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