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QuickTime: What is QuickTime?

History of Apple QuickTime

The first version, dating back to 1991, was at the forefront of bringing video to personal computers and had a tremendous impact on personal computing, multimedia, and the Internet since its introduction. After over twenty years, so many things has changed, QuickTime still dominates among users with its variety families. Let's have a brief view of all the versions of QT pros.


Issue Time

QuickTime 1.x

December 2, 1991

QuickTime 2.x

February 1994

QuickTime 3.x

March 30, 1998

QuickTime 4.x

June 8, 1999

QuickTime 5.x

April 2001

QuickTime 6.x

July 15, 2002

QuickTime 7.x

April 29, 2005

QuickTime X (v10.x)

June 8, 2009

QuickTime Supported Video and Audio Formats

As to be discussed below, the incapability of QuickTime for Mac to support many common formats is one of its major shortcomings. Different movies and videos are put in different video and audio formats, like WMV, AVI, MKV and many more. Let's have a look at the most commonly used media file formats supported by QuickTime below.

Video formats

QuickTime Movie (.mov), MPEG-4 (.mp4, .m4v), MPEG-2 (OS X Lion or later), MPEG-1, 3GPP, 3GPP2, AVCHD (OS X Mountain Lion or later) AVI (Motion JPEG only), DV

Audio formats

iTunes Audio (.m4a, .m4b, .m4p), MP3, Core Audio (.caf), AIFF, AU, SD2, WAV, SND, AMR

How to Play Various Videos on QuickTime

As we can see above, QuickTime is confined to its limited supported video formats. If you want to enjoy videos in other formats such as FLV, WMV, AVI, MKV and etc on QT Player, including the latest QuickTime 7, QuickTime X, and previous vresions, MacX Video Converter Pro is definitely what you need. Built in 370+ video & audio codecs, this video converter offers easy solution for you to convert MKV, M2TS, MTS, TS, AVCHD, MP4, FLV, WMV, AVI, etc on Mac to/from QuickTime MOV with 5X faster speed and no quality loss.

Ideal Solution to Play MKV on QuickTime on Mac
How to Convert AVI to QuickTime MOV on Mac OS

Pros & Cons of QuickTime

QuickTime doesn't do many tasks as other programs do. But it does allow you to do many things that the other programs don't. Here we list the both sides.

Pros of QuickTime:

  • Support for H.264 compression. QT features advanced video compression technology called H.264 to deliver brilliant, crisp HD video using less bandwidth and storage.
  • Works great with HD videos. Working great with HD and Full-HD videos is another secret of its popularity. You can experience pristine video quality of any movies or videos.
  • Audio playback integration. It also offers integration with your browser so you can watch videos right from its window without the need to save the content to disk.

Cons of QuickTime:

  • Many extra codecs are needed for playback. Through it performs well during audio and video playback, you have to install codecs manually.
  • Installs bloatware. Like most Apple softwares, QuickTime needs to install additional tools, also known as bloatware. As a matter of fact, this is just eating extra space on the disk as many systems has already equipped with similar ones. This also causes other follow-up problems such as software update and application support.
  • Doesn't support some common video formats. The biggest disadvantage is that Quicktime player doesn't support some popular video formats, like WMV, AVI, MKV, DivX and etc. You have to convert the videos in those formats first.

QuickTime Alternative

As discussed above, although QT gets the job done well in many asepcts, its codecs and built-in features are a little limited and not enough to meet many users' needs. In these cases, you can turn to other Quicktime alternatives which can do the same tasks. Among the front QuickTime alternatives come the VLC Media Player, 5KPlayer, MPlayerX, Plex, Miro and etc.