Apple releases previews of QuickTime 6, Broadcaster

After an almost four month delay over licensing terms of the MPEG-4 technology, Apple Computer Inc. announced the first public release of its QuickTime 6 multimedia player and QuickTime Broadcaster software Tuesday.

The software products, now available for free download, were first unveiled earlier this year, and advertised as the first mainstream multimedia products to support the MPEG-4 digital compression standard. The standard was developed by the Moving Pictures Experts Group (MPEG), and debate over the group's proposed licensing fees kept Apple from releasing its software earlier.

QuickTime 6 allows users to create, stream and view MPEG-4 content, and includes an "Instant-On Streaming" feature that eliminates buffer delays, Apple said. The multimedia software also includes the standard MPEG-4 audio format, Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), which delivers high-quality sound in smaller file sizes, according to Apple.

Additionally, QuickTime 6 for the Mac OS X supports the JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) 2000 standard, which allows users to users to capture still images and save them in reduced file sizes, the company said.

Users who want to capture and encode QuickTime content to stream over the Web can download QuickTime Broadcaster. Broadcaster allows users to encode and record content onto a computer hard drive and play it back for rapid video-on-demand posting, Apple said. Broadcaster supports MPEG-4 content and AAC audio.

Both QuickTime 6 and QuickTime Broadcaster are now available for download on the Cupertino, California, company's site at QuickTime 6 is available for both Mac and Windows. The Broadcaster preview is being offered only to Mac users.