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Multimedia framework developed by Apple Computer. QuickTime is Apple Computer's industry standard software architecture for creating, editing, and publishing digital media.

QuickTime is at the foundation of some of the industry's most respected digital media software tools, including Adobe After Effects, Avid Cinema, Adobe Premiere, Radius Edit, and Macromedia's much-anticipated Final Cut.

General Information


QuickTime is Apple Computer's award-winning, industry-standard, software architecture that makes it possible to create, integrate, and publish all types of digital media. Using QuickTime, software applications can offer the ability to work with a wide variety of media file formats and media encodings in an easy, consistent way. QuickTime was designed from the ground up to simplify the task of working with and integrating the widest possible range of digital media types-not just sound and video. QuickTime today truly provides the most comprehensive, most flexible, and most integrated set of media services available to content creators and software developers regardless of whether you publish to video tape, CD-ROM, or the Internet.

QuickTime is composed of three distinct elements-the QuickTime Movie file format, the QuickTime Media Abstraction Layer, and a rich set of built-in QuickTime media services. These three elements enable users to realize the full benefits of the QuickTime software architecture.

QuickTime Components

QuickTime includes several components that are provided by Apple. These components provide essential services to your application and to the managers that make up the QuickTime architecture. The following Apple-defined components are among those used by QuickTime:

  • movie controller components, which allow applications to play movies using a standard user interface
  • standard image-compression dialog components, which allow the user to specify the parameters for a compression operation by supplying a dialog box or a similar mechanism
  • image compressor components, which compress and decompress image data
  • sequence grabber components, which allow applications to preview and record video and sound data as QuickTime movies
  • video digitizer components, which allow applications to control video digitization by an external device
  • media data-exchange components, which allow applications to move various types of data in and out of a QuickTime movie
  • derived media handler components, which allow QuickTime to support new types of data in QuickTime movies
  • clock components, which provide timing services defined for QuickTime applications
  • preview components, which are used by the Movie Toolbox's standard file preview functions to display and create visual previews for files
  • sequence grabber components, which allow applications to obtain digitized data from sources that are external to a Macintosh computer
  • sequence grabber channel components, which manipulate captured data for a sequence grabber component
  • sequence grabber panel components, which allow sequence grabber components to obtain configuration information from the user for a particular sequence grabber channel component

These components and the interfaces they support are discussed in Inside Macintosh: QuickTime Components.


  • QuickTime has a nice undocumented feature: you can name a movie file to "Startup Movie" and put it in the System Folder, and it will be played on startup when QuickTime loads. In international system software this name will be different (in Swedish it's "Startfilm"); you can find the name it uses in STR resource -2020.

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