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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Applications > Quicktime Ain't What It Used To Be

Quicktime Ain't What It Used To Be
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wings_rfs
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Dec 6, 2004, 02:50 PM
 
By that I mean I can view FEWER movie files than I used to. I have some old CDs with movies that used to play with QT on my older systems but now I can no longer play them with 6.5.2. It seems with each new release Apple is leaving more formats behind while it adds new formats (that are so new that there is hardly anything out there using them). Not only that, but QT seems very picky as to what you throw at it... some movie files just cause it to hang with the spinning beach ball for forever, some movies skip & stutter, and some don't play sound when I know the older QT played it with sound. And a while back Apple broke the "Play All Frames" option. It works on a very few files, but most go into super speed when you choose that option. It's beyond me why VLC and Mplayer can play more formats (and play them correctly) than QT when you would think Apple would have THE premier movie player of all time. While I'm ranting I'll add that Apple's ENcoding of MP4s is really lame, compared to say DivX. Why can't Apple do at least as well as DivX? To produce nearly the same quality, Apple's MP4s are WAY bigger files than DivX.

C'mon Apple, show us you're the multimedia king. Fix the hangs. Fix Play All Frames. Relax your requirements for what you will play -- play it even if the file is broken (well, within limits). Improve your encoding of MP4. While you're at it, give us variable speed playback, and allow us to cut/copy an mpg file (like you used to).

(And yes, I have every codec that there is installed into QT, including Pro and the MP2 playback.)

-------
I posted the above on Apple's forums and they removed it. Maybe it will stick here. Hope it's OK to rant in this forum.
     
Jacke
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Dec 6, 2004, 03:14 PM
 
Originally posted by wings_rfs:
I have some old CDs with movies that used to play with QT on my older systems but now I can no longer play them with 6.5.2.
By older, do you mean pre-OS X?
     
BuonRotto
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Dec 6, 2004, 03:25 PM
 
The big reason some old files don't play on QT any more is that Intel once created extensions (the Classic OS variety) that made playing avi files possible with QT. Those extensions haven't been updated by Intel, and Apple either isn't allowed or doesn't see much upside to adding those old (somewhat oddball) codecs to recent versions of QT.

I'm not sure why mpeg 1 files are no longer editable. I remember how they used to be. I don't know if it's a technological issue or a legal issue.
     
TETENAL
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Dec 6, 2004, 03:41 PM
 
Apple never dropped a codec. The only codec that worked in OS 9 but doesn't in OS X is the Indeo codec, but that's not Apple's that's a third party codec Apple has no control over. It used be owned by Intel, but it has been sold to another company. The Indeo codec is not an extension to play AVI movies.
     
Millennium
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Dec 6, 2004, 04:57 PM
 
Originally posted by BuonRotto:
The big reason some old files don't play on QT any more is that Intel once created extensions (the Classic OS variety) that made playing avi files possible with QT. Those extensions haven't been updated by Intel, and Apple either isn't allowed or doesn't see much upside to adding those old (somewhat oddball) codecs to recent versions of QT.
You're about half right.

The extensions made by Intel weren't for AVI files; QuickTime has always supported that format perfectly. Those extensions were for a particular codec, known as Indeo. There were actually three of these: Indeo3, Indeo4, and Indeo5. This codec was popular back in the days before DivX showed up.

Anyway, Intel later sold the Indeo codecs to a company called Ligos (or maybe they spun Ligos off? I don't know the answer to this one). Ligos never updated the codecs for the Mac again, and in fact they haven't updated them for any platform -not even Windows- in years. Apple does not update these extensions for two reasons. One, they never wrote them in the first place, so they don't have the source, and two, they're not allowed anyway, per licensing agreements and such. That is why Indeo no longer plays in OSX's QuickTime Player.

This said, there are three things of note:
  • The old OS9 extensions can still be found. If you install them into Classic's System Folder and attempt to play Indeo videos in Classic's QuickTime Player, they'll work just fine. If you have QuickTime Pro you can even save them into another format, so that you can then play them in OSX's player.
  • Indeo3 has been reverse-engineered. I think MPlayer can play these now, though I've never tested it out on the Mac. Sadly, Indeo4 and Indeo5 have not been reverse-engineered (this is why I've never tested it; I don't have any Indeo3 videos).
  • Ligos has licensed the codec to the developer of XAnim, an old media player for Linux, on the condition that he keep the source of his port closed. Perhaps a Mac developer might be able to enter into a similar arrangement with them?
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Angus_D
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Dec 6, 2004, 05:46 PM
 
Originally posted by Millennium:
The extensions made by Intel weren't for AVI files; QuickTime has always supported that format perfectly.
Actually, QuickTime's handling of AVI is a bit borken - it can't get sound streams out of some of them correctly for some reason. The DivX component has to patch it to make it able to playback DivX with sound in AVI stuff.
     
BuonRotto
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Dec 6, 2004, 06:24 PM
 
Yeah, it was something like that. The memory, it fades. Thanks, Millenium and TETENAL.
     
Uncle Skeleton
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Dec 6, 2004, 10:44 PM
 
Originally posted by wings_rfs:
and some don't play sound when I know the older QT played it with sound.
This could only be true if you once had the DivX (or less likely Ogg) component installed, and no longer do for some reason. That or your files have become corrupt, but to only corrupt the audio is very unlikely.


And a while back Apple broke the "Play All Frames" option. It works on a very few files, but most go into super speed when you choose that option.
Play All Frames means exactly that...play all frames as fast as possible. On older hardware this almost always meant slower than real time. Now that you have a faster computer, it means faster than real time. Just play it normally in this case, since your hardware is obviously fast enough to keep up now.


It's beyond me why VLC and Mplayer can play more formats (and play them correctly)
It's because once upon a time video standards were the domain of corporations and standards bodies, such as MPEG-LA and the above mentioned Intel. Nowadays more people prefer to hack and cobble together whatever they can get to work, if it works a slight bit better than the alternative (for them). It should be no surprise that in an era when popular video formats are created according to industry standards, that industry standard players are the best at playing them. Conversely, in an era when popular video formats are created (and constantly modified) by a handful of anti-social anarchist hackers who live in a shadowy netherworld unbound by geography, the open-source hack-friendly players written by similar groups will be more up-to-date at playing them.


While I'm ranting I'll add that Apple's ENcoding of MP4s is really lame, compared to say DivX. Why can't Apple do at least as well as DivX? To produce nearly the same quality, Apple's MP4s are WAY bigger files than DivX.
But...you can just use DivX (or 3ivx) with QuickTime. I would prefer Apple spend it's human resources fixing problems with the Finder (for example) and the underlying OS, than something that is already being taken care of aptly by another party (one that is completely devoted to the product under discussion, not one that has other much larger commitments)


and allow us to cut/copy an mpg file (like you used to).
I remember being quite dissatisfied with MPEG editing back in QT4 because they let me spend time editing only to find that the underlying media was not edited (the edits were just recorded alongside the unaltered MPEG track). So..."like you used to" isn't really all it's cracked up to be. They should fix it though...MPEG isn't inherently un-editable any more than most other codecs.

(And yes, I have every codec that there is installed into QT, including Pro and the MP2 playback.)
Since you brought it up, can you list them? (I'm not calling you a liar....I just can't think of a way to finish this sentence)

Originally posted by Angus_D:
Actually, QuickTime's handling of AVI is a bit borken - it can't get sound streams out of some of them correctly for some reason. The DivX component has to patch it to make it able to playback DivX with sound in AVI stuff
That's bull. It's the "AVI" files that have been broken, by defying the standard. And if you're willing to accept DivX breaking the standard to create your media files, it's not fair to complain about having to install DivX to decode them (when it works perfectly fine at doing so). Just think of DivX as a completely new file format. You need DivX to create them and you need DivX to play them.
     
wings_rfs  (op)
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Dec 14, 2004, 06:56 PM
 
Uncle said "Play All Frames means exactly that...play all frames as fast as possible. "

You're quite wrong. It does NOT mean as-fast-as-possible. It was an option included so that you could at least play all frames when your machine was not fast enough to process the movie in real time. Yes, it would go slow, but at least it wouldn't skip and you could view everything in the movie (although without sound). I have several movies that play at about 2x speed when play-all is selected, and my processor utilization is way way low when playing. If it was going to play em as fast as it could I would see some heavy processor usage.

And to address your question.... yes, I can list all my codecs.

I would consider a great movie player as one that will play just about everything you give it, regardless if the file accurately conforms to a "standard". I want a player that will PLAY, not one that just abides by all the rules. I can play every movie I download -- just not all with the same player. And that's what I want.
     
badidea
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Dec 15, 2004, 08:16 AM
 
Originally posted by wings_rfs:
And to address your question.... yes, I can list all my codecs.
Then please do so and I will tell you which AVIs you should be able to play and which not!(and there is none QT 6.5.2 can't play that used to be playable with an older version, except the before mentioned Indeo movies!)
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m a d r a
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Dec 15, 2004, 09:02 AM
 
<slightly off-topic>

i have a similar problem with some old apple .pct files. i've got a load of those on CD that i shot using a quicktake camera way back in the day when that was the cutting edge of digital photography. when i try to view them now, the finder is able to generate a preview for each of the files without difficulty, however preview and photoshop say they can't open them as they're not a valid file format and while graphicconverter does open them, the content of the window is just blank white.

[just thought i'd throw that one in as another example of OSX seeming to have problems with legacy apple file formats]

</slightly off-topic>
     
Millennium
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Dec 15, 2004, 10:40 AM
 
Originally posted by Angus_D:
Actually, QuickTime's handling of AVI is a bit borken - it can't get sound streams out of some of them correctly for some reason. The DivX component has to patch it to make it able to playback DivX with sound in AVI stuff.
Actually, the bug isn't in QuickTime's AVI handling, it's in Windows Media's. By the AVI spec, the most common DivX movies -MPEG-4-like compression with VBR MP3 audio- shouldn't actually be possible. It happened to work in WiMP, which is how DivX got its start with that container, but that's the kicker: a DivX AVI file isn't really an AVI file at all; it's a broken file by definition.

DivX's patch actually introduces a bug into QuickTime, rather than patching it.
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maxintosh
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Dec 15, 2004, 11:17 AM
 
Originally posted by Millennium:
DivX's patch actually introduces a bug into QuickTime, rather than patching it.
Technically, you're correct, but that's an arrogant way of looking at it from Apple's standpoint. The fact is, DiVX is quite popular, and for the end user -- either it works, or it doesn't.
     
mitchell_pgh
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Dec 15, 2004, 12:28 PM
 
Originally posted by maxintosh:
Technically, you're correct, but that's an arrogant way of looking at it from Apple's standpoint. The fact is, DiVX is quite popular, and for the end user -- either it works, or it doesn't.
Cars without doors may be popular, but that doesn't mean they meet any standards.

DiVX is a broken format (granted it works great for all my pirated movies), but it's not Apple's fault Microsoft decides to do whatever it wants and people follow.
     
Uncle Skeleton
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Dec 15, 2004, 01:12 PM
 
Originally posted by wings_rfs:
Uncle said "Play All Frames means exactly that...play all frames as fast as possible. "

You're quite wrong. It does NOT mean as-fast-as-possible. It was an option included so that you could at least play all frames when your machine was not fast enough to process the movie in real time. Yes, it would go slow, but at least it wouldn't skip and you could view everything in the movie (although without sound). I have several movies that play at about 2x speed when play-all is selected, and my processor utilization is way way low when playing. If it was going to play em as fast as it could I would see some heavy processor usage.
Well that's the way it's always worked in my experience (not that I use that feature a lot), and all I can find in the docs is all frames of video should be played, regardless of timing. Still could be interpretted either way, I suppose. But the cpu is not necessarily the bottleneck, it could be file IO (are you playing them off a CD?), ram, system bus, etc.


And to address your question.... yes, I can list all my codecs.
no need to get testy. I was clearly implying that we could fix your problem right here and now if you would only be more specific about what you consider to be included by "every codec that there is."


I would consider a great movie player as one that will play just about everything you give it, regardless if the file accurately conforms to a "standard". I want a player that will PLAY, not one that just abides by all the rules. I can play every movie I download -- just not all with the same player. And that's what I want.
Well that would be MPlayer or VLC. The thing is, since the open-source/hacker/pirate community pulled ahead in popularity for formats and "standards," you need an open-source/hacker/pirate community player in order to keep up. Incidentally, the folks at VLC put in a lot of work and they can still barely keep up with the formats you might find in your cyber-travels...do you really want Apple to divert programming hours from OS X in order to duplicate the efforts of open-source projects? Maybe you'd be happy if they reapplied the iTunes/Sherlock/SoundJam/Watson formula and encourage the devs of VLC and DivX.com to never look at another mac....I wouldn't.
     
Uncle Skeleton
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Dec 15, 2004, 01:23 PM
 
Originally posted by maxintosh:
The fact is, DiVX is quite popular, and for the end user -- either it works, or it doesn't.
DivX is quite popular. Among DVD pirates. How would you propose Apple fill your request, and keep up to date with all the latest DVD piracy fads? By....keeping tabs on piracy, maybe peering into user's files, or keeping records of what types of files were played with their media player? Honestly I can't imagine how Apple would realistically know to work on keeping up with the most recent AVI hack without becoming some kind of police agency (or clubhouse of DVD pirates themselves).

DivX is also becoming popular on the web. Slowly. I've still never seen DivX on a corporate website (besides divx.com), but I know that there are some. But by that time, there was a fully functional DivX plugin for QuickTime. No need to reimplement the wheel, so to speak.

Real Video is quite popular (lord knows why), but you don't see QuickTime (or VLC or WMP or anything but Real Player) supporting that do you?

The fact is, DivX avi files are a new standard unto themselves, and it's not QuickTime's responsibility to reverse engineer new standards created by 3rd parties. QuickTime goes the extra mile though, by supporting file import plugins like the one from divx.com
     
osxrules
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Dec 15, 2004, 02:10 PM
 
I agree about Quicktime. I use MPlayer for most of my video watching. VLC for VCD or SVCD (standards that Quicktime doesn't support). It also doesn't support broken Mpegs very well at all. I have tons of clips and very often I am puzzled by how a 50-100MB Mpeg file lasts only a few seconds only to realise that Quicktime doesn't play back files that have been split and joined on PCs or something like that, though MPlayer has no trouble.

It's all very well excusing Apple for not keeping up with the codecs but Firefox adheres to standards and a lot of pages don't work. Should I just refuse to access the content I want to see because it's not presented as standards or complain about the companies who make products that don't allow for peoples' mistakes.

I'd like to refuse but Apple has such a small share that even if all the Mac users in the world stopped accessing content because it didn't work, nobody would even notice. One major thing that Apple needs to do is give us options. I am frankly getting very annoyed at the over-simplistic and unfunctional software we keep getting. I'm just happy there is such a thing as the open-source community.
     
yukon
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Dec 15, 2004, 08:54 PM
 
I'm not certain. I appreciate Apple's stance on some things with what Quicktime supports, but even I end up not using Quicktime and it hurts their marketshare. Quicktime used to be multimedia, now I hardly see it anywhere. I guess it's better to be angry that Apple failed with it and Quicktime became almost irrelevant in multimedia, rather than that Quicktime isn't a priority.

Just yesterday, I hit a .mov file, I was surprised just to see it. Mplayer on two platforms couldn't skip ahead in it, Quicktime on OS X was so slow that it was unwatchable. Quicktime on Windows actually played it better but not well, I ended up using a program that used Quicktime on windows to play mov files, just to see all the frames. I dunno, maybe this is a new quicktime codec, but a G4 not being able to decode it fast enough, and not really any other options to play it.....it's no wonder no one wants quicktime. I pity the poor linux users who would only have MPlayer/VLC.

Here's to hoping that the stories of Apple rewriting Quicktime from the ground up are true. May I see a CD one day with the quicktime logo printed on it once again ;-)
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