Play Windows Media files with QuickTime Player (free!)

Today, two more signs of the forthcoming apocolypse.

(1) Apple announces the first Macs with Intel Inside, as Steve rubs “man, can you believe how friggin’ **slooow** the PowerPC was?” salt into our collective wounds several times during the keynote. (Wouldn’t want to be [Kottke]( “Doh!”) right now…)

(2) With somewhat less fanfare, Microsoft delivers **Windows Media Components for QuickTime**.

Microsoft had a little — okay, a lot of — help from [Telestream][Telestream]. Windows Media Components for QuickTime looks to be their Flip4Mac WMV product re-branded, which is A Good Thing. It appears to support every Windows Media video and audio format you could ask for (even the latest Windows Media Video 9 Advanced Profile.)

There’s always a catch, and in this case it’s that encoding will cost you. Specifically, anywhere from $49-179 depending on whether you need to be able to create your own profiles, encode to HD, etc.

Kevin Unangst, director of the Windows Digital Media Division at Microsoft, had this to say:

> Consumers and content professionals are demanding great ways to view Windows Media content on the Macintosh using the platform and tools they know.

Translation: “Um, Mac users hate our player.”

> The Windows Media Components for QuickTime, powered by Telestream’s Flip4Mac technology provide this important capability and live up to Telestream’s reputation for outstanding media solutions.

Translation: “It’s not that important to us *personally* (otherwise we’d have done it years ago), but luckily Telestream was happy to play in exchange for a little co-marketing love.”

Since these are QuickTime components, Windows Media files will be usable not only in QuickTime Player, but in **any** properly-written QuickTime-savvy software.

* [Windows Media for QuickTime][Windows Media for QuickTime]

[Windows Media for QuickTime]: (Get Windows Media Components for QuickTime)

First Animatrix episode available for download

The marketeers behind The Matrix have always made effective use of digital media (the web, great QuickTime trailers) in their Matrix-related marketing efforts.

The machine is now gearing up for the on-two punch of The Matix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. As the second major marketing effort of the launch campaign (the first was the trailer shown during the Superbowl), they’ve released the first episode of the anime-style companion to The Matrix, The Animatrix, on the web. The first four hits are free, sometime after which the entire nine episodes series (season?) will be available on DVD.

The largest (640×272) version weighs in at a hefty 140+ MB, so start those downloads now…

"Mastering Compression" class

My friend and streaming expert Ben Waggoner will be holding his next two 5-day Mastering Compression classes on June 30 and August 11.

These classes are held on the Stanford University campus. They’re part of Stanford’s Digital Media Academy program, so you get Stanford Continuing Education credits for taking the class — that means that your employer might even pay for them!

If you can’t attend,

  • Digital Media Academy: Mastering Compression
  • Posted in MPEG-4, QuickTime, RealSystem, Streaming, Windows Media, Wireless
  • ASCII art @ 30fps

    If you have Mac OS X, you have the option of watching QuickTime Movies in glorious ASCII-mation — from a command line. Intended or not, this is a nice old-school homage to the QuickTime team of the early 90s (which had an ASCII codec for QuickTime). Hrmmm…maybe we can retrofit old phones for video… Link

    Great new QuickTime 6 book

    My friends Judy and Robert have published a new QuickTime 6 edition of their wonderful Visual QuickStart Guide to QuickTime.

    The book is great, they’re great, and if you want to understand the zen of QuickTime and learn how do do cool things with it, you should buy Posted in QuickTime

    QuickTime 6: 25 million served

    Today Apple announced that more than 25 million copies of QuickTime 6 have been downloaded in 100 days — very impressive.

    I hate to be a Negative Nelly, but the press releases avoids discussing QuickTime 6’s wonderful Sorenson Video 3 codec, which offers far better quality than QuickTime 6’s MPEG-4 Video codec. This suggests that this is the last Sorenson codec for QuickTime (but not for Flash, hopefully).

    It’d also be really nice if Apple would answer the question that makes most in the non-Mac press dismiss the news…how many of these 25 million downloads are QuickTime for Windows? Link

    Apple's 3-day MPEG-4/QuickTime Streaming course

    Apple has announced the release of its 3-day, hands-on MPEG-4/QuickTime Streaming course. I talked to Victor Alexander, Apple’s QuickTime Curriculum Developer, and here’s how he described it:

    The QuickTime Streaming course takes an in-depth look at QuickTime Streaming Server and Darwin Streaming Server by teaching system administrators and media authors the details behind real-time streaming. Students learn the theory as well as the practical steps involved in streaming QuickTime, MPEG-4, and MP3 files to the world. Students also learn performance, security, and troubleshooting techniques in order to successfully maintain the servers running QuickTime Streaming Server and Darwin Streaming Server. Apple’s streaming server is set to become the Apache of the MPEG-4 streaming world. Learn to master it through this course.

    (Hey, he stole my line about Darwin Streaming Server being the Apache of the MPEG-4 streaming world!)

    The class is currently offered in Silicon Valley, New York, and Los Angeles. The cost is $1,575 (well worth it, from what I hear), and students receive a hefty 250 page student guide and QuickTime 6 Pro keys for Windows and Macintosh (a $59.98 value! Yesss!). Upcoming classes are 10/28 in Cupertino and 11/18 in New York. Link

    Apple and Sorenson Settle Flash-Related Lawsuit

    Last week, Apple and Sorenson Media quietly put their respective lawsuits to bed. The Apple and Sorenson Media press releases are curt and identical, and suggest that they’ve agreed to be quietly bitter about the whole thing until the kids grow up and go away for college, at least.

    Apple and Sorenson Media, Inc. today announced the settlement of a pending federal court lawsuit that had been brought by Apple in April, 2002. The settlement provides for the dismissal of all claims and counterclaims.

    Apple sued Sorenson in April, after Sorenson’s Squeeze codec became Flash MX’s flashship video codec. Sorenson counter-sued in July, citing an February 2000 email from Steve Jobs that, according to Sorenson, demonstrated that Apple had “exclusive rights to past but not future versions of software codecs produced by Sorenson Media.”

    The Sorenson Video codec became QuickTime’s flagship video codec with QuickTime 3. Without Sorenson Video, Apple would not have had a compelling solution for streaming video at that time. QuickTime 6’s Sorenson Video 3 codec remains QuickTime’s highest-quality video codec.