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Apple's upcoming QuickTime upgrade beefs up the multimedia system software's streaming capabilities. QuickTime 5 will ship with MPEG-1 streaming support, as well as support for MPEG-3 (MP3) streams from Shoutcast.

More important, QuickTime 5 -- when used with QuickTime Streaming Server 3 -- will be better able to prevent transmission skips during playback of streaming audio and video. It will buffer streams and then fill in the blanks that occur with streaming packet losses -- a process similar to the way a portable CD player reads ahead during a track and fills in the blanks when it's jostled.

The result? QuickTime 5 can stream content virtually without interruption. And heaven knows, interruptions and skips are the last thing you need when you're watching Keanu Reeves emote in that movie trailer you downloaded.

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