QuickTime 7.4 Fiasco?


TOKYO (MacHouse) – Soon after Apple opened Macworld 2008 in San Francisco last week, the company released iTunes 7.6 and QuickTime 7.4. Then Apple’s Discussion board was flooded with complaints that QuickTime 7.4 doesn’t play MP4-formatted videos. (See Screenshot 01-2.) Honestly, we were interested in investigating the issue till today. We simply believed it because so many people reported the problem. And we decided to investigate this claim only because one of the QuickTime plug-ins stopped working.

QuickTime 7.4 .MP4
Screenshot 01 – Source: discussions.apple.com
  QuickTime 7.4 .MP4
Screenshot 02 – Source: discussions.apple.com

When I launched iTunes 7.6 to listen to Mariah Carey’s songs today, I realized that there was something wrong. Music wasn’t running. Actually, it turned out that not all songs were affected by the recent update. Then I also found out that only OggVorbis-formatted music files were affected. The QuickTime component responsible for OggVorbis-formatted music file on my iMac was OggVorbis.component. (See Screenshot 03.) I don’t how I messed it, but there’s another plug-in for OggVorbis. It’s called Xiph QuickTime Component from xiph.org. A strange thing about this QuickTime component is that you put it not in Library/QuickTime folder but in Library/Components. And this plug-in is still compatible with QuickTime 7.4.

QuickTime 7.4 .MP4
Screenshot 03
  QuickTime 7.4 .MP4
Screenshot 04
  QuickTime 7.4 .MP4
Screenshot 05

Now, how about the MP4 issue? A lot of people claim that QuickTime 7.4 doesn’t play MP4-formatted videos. So I produced two videos out of a QuickTime movie (.MOV) that is compressed with H.264. For one copy, I just changed the MOV format to MP4, maintaining the same compression. For the other copy, I re-comressed the movie with MPEG-4 Part II and put the video track in the MP4 format. Neither copy contains an audio track. Strange… I have visual on both copies. (See Screenshot 04-5.)

So what does this finding mean? It’s quite possible that QuickTime 7.4 may not be the direct source of the MP4 problem. It’s a wonderful piece of freeware, but Perian often appears to be the cause of a QuickTime compatibility problem. But we aren’t sure what the exact cause of the MP4 problem for now as we are not able to replicate it.

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