In his keynote at the Streaming Media West Conference here in Long Beach, CA, this morning, Phil Schiller, vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing for Apple, outlined Apple’s arguments for QuickTime as the “complete solution” for Open Source rich content delivery over the web. Citing over 20,000 applications that “not only support, but also ship with QuickTime” as well as “150 million” QuickTime 4 players distributed in its 24 month existence, and “15 million QuickTime 5 players from Apple’s US servers alone in the past 2 months,” Schiller pointed to QuickTime as a long-term streaming solution that “will still be here 5 years from now.”
Energetic and poised, Schiller spoke to a crowd of near 400. He broke down the “one solution” for a common or open source streaming environment into four main topics: Content, Infrastructure, Consumption and Distribution, and continued to show how he believed Apple’s QuickTime technology was solving each of those aspects.
“There is more support for industry standard formats in QuickTime than any other architecture technology available” said Schiller as he illustrated with a slide he characterized as an “eye-chart” of industry logos. “In fact, over 60 formats are supported.”
Schiller pointed out that QuickTime now includes “native support for Photoshop. QuickTime actually retains the layer information.” He continued to show “all the other amazing effects, things that aren’t included in other architectures for color management effects, so you can create some of the most pristine, beautiful and interesting content inside QuickTime.”
He also outlined specific aspects of the QuickTime architecture, like scaling and extensibility, as well as enhanced skip protection.
“Tax Free” Infrastructure
Schiller introduced QuickTime Streaming Server as the basis for what he called “tax free” streaming. “By Tax Free, that means, as you go up in the number of streams you support, there is no charge for it. That can be very expensive in some architectures, but we don’t charge anything for that. You can stream as much as you want, and we’re happy you’re using it,” he said.
Schiller explained point for point the open source protocols that the QuickTime Streaming Server employs. “Our Open Source Streaming Server provides something we call the Darwin Streaming Server and they’re open for anyone to download and make their own streaming server out of it. Of course, it’s on Macintosh, but it’s been brought to Windows, Solaris, and Linux. And it’s out there for people to get their hands on and use,” he said.
“We’ve already had a quarter million downloads to developers of the server product.”
Consumption and Distribution
Schiller explained how Apple distributes the QuickTime player to consumers as easily as possible, “without going through as many walls and traps as other free players do” — making unnamed, polite reference to one of the sponsors of Streaming Media West, RealNetworks.
“The QuickTime player just works” Schiller said.
Schiller then went into the various QuickTime content-filled areas on Apple’s site as examples of consumer friendly access points. He mentioned QuickTime TV, and the QuickTime Movie Trailer Channel, which Schiller says, “we did not realize how popular it would be when we created it,” further characterizing it as the “number one movie trailer site on the web.”
Schiller then cited BMWfilms.com as a prime example of how QuickTime is being handled by other companies on the web.
Frank Casanova, Apple’s director of QuickTime Product Marketing, came on stage to give a two-part demonstration of QuickTime. The first part showed the newest aspects of QuickTime 5’s “Cubic VR” wherein points of view are now no longer limited to lateral line of sight, but rotate through a complete sphere. His demo was made, it should be noted, running OS 9.1.
In order to demonstrate the new buffering capabilities of QuickTime, Casanova unplugged the connection with no effect to the streaming music video while streaming the video from a live remote server.
Finally, Schiller brought his keynote toward a conclusion calling for a “new sense of community” saying “the cold war is over,” citing the much-needed cooperation of all developers and the success of MPEG 4.
He then gave a brief history of MPEG from 1 to 4, and explained that QuickTime is now the format that MPEG 4 has selected as its format of choice.
On a near final word, Schiller called QuickTime the obvious choice as a “vault” for streaming video assets, now and in the future.
Schiller and Casanova gave one last demo of the various levels of quality and compression using MPEG versions 1, 2 and 4 exhibiting the various levels of throughput and the increased quality at lower real-world speeds, to the impressive and congratulatory reception from the audience.
Instead of just wrapping it up with that, Schiller invited everyone to stay for five more minutes as he used his demo Macintosh to show one of the latest short films now available on BMWfilms, starring Madonna, and directed by her present husband, Guy Ritchie. The film was shown full screen to attest to the robust content delivery QuickTime now affords.