Free, reliable multimedia player for Mac
QuickTime is a popular free multimedia player developed by Apple. Able to handle a wide range of picture, video, audio, and panoramic image formats, this audio and video player works on Mac devices and also Windows Vista and 7, but not Windows 10. Although Apple has stopped supporting QuickTime for Windows, it remains a leading choice for Mac users.
It’s simple, clean interface is reminiscent of other media players such as VLC or KMPlayer. While QuickTime Player is able to support many formats (most notably iTunes), its main drawback is that many of its features are reliant on the premium version of the software, QuickTime Pro. Still, the free version of QuickTime provides decent utility to suit most users.
Simple video editing and live streaming
One of the first mainstream multimedia players, QuickTime’s legacy has sparked many other platforms that have not only matched its capabilities, but offered compatibility with Windows and Linux. Now QuickTime’s main advantage is the convenience of being pre-installed on Mac computers and receives regular updates from the developer.
These updates mean that QuickTime suffers fewer bugs than its competitors and its forums, user guides, and file compatibilities are current and monitored daily. The primary reason QuickTime remains a must-use app for Apple users is that it constantly evolves to suit the modern atmosphere. In the event that manual installation is required, QuickTime is a lightweight program and requires no registration.
Installing QuickTime is usually unnecessary since it’s native to Mac computers, but may be necessary for Windows users (assuming they are running the older versions of Windows that can still support QuickTime), or if a bug arises that requires redownloading the software. In any event, this installation takes under a minute, after which you can make use of the suite’s many features.
Though QuickTime Pro is constantly updated with new features, the free version of the product doesn’t have the same host of extensive capabilities. That said, the app’s easy-to-use presentation can be considered one of its selling points. The app's simple, uncluttered UI makes it efficient, and even a preferable choice for playing simple video files. The caveat, however, is that this free version of QuickTime doesn’t support all file formats without third-party codecs.
Once these third-party codecs are downloaded, however, QuickTime is an. effective means of playing and managing all sorts of media. There’s a suite of editing tools intrinsic to QuickTime that can trim, merge, split, and rotate video clips. Even with today’s much-improved recording technology, many video clips are still frustratingly sideways or upside-down; a problem easily countered with QuickTime.
Video, audio, and images can be viewed, paused, re-winded, fast-forwarded, put to fullscreen, or even shared over social media. Anything watched over QuickTime can then be uploaded to popular platforms like YouTube, Facebook, or Vimeo. This also extends to videos created on QuickTime, a process made easy with its screen-recording function. The use of ‘QuickTime Broadcaster’ takes streaming live videos to the next level, as you can watch on your preferred platform in real-time.
QuickTime has its work cut out for it when up against modern competitors like VLC, but it can still deliver high-quality HD videos with minimal storage and bandwidth. While it itself can’t support all formats (without downloading additional third-party codecs), it can still transcode and encode all digital files to different formats. This keeps QuickTime useful for outgoing videos, highlighting its usefulness when it comes to uploading content over social media.
Since it’s more popular on Mac, one of the best facets of QuickTime is its convenient compatibility with iTunes. This union shouldn’t come as a surprise since both were engineered by Apple to work in harmony in their ecosystem. This means anything purchased from Apple TV or iTunes is designed to work on QuickTime. They’re also optimized to work on Mac, meaning that any formats pulled from iTunes or Apple TV are likely to work on QuickTime on a Mac computer.
QuickTime vs VLC
While QuickTime is largely a solid choice, its limitations as a multimedia player make it worth looking at alternative apps. In more recent years, a variety of excellent multimedia players have hit the market, most notably VLC Media Player. Today’s most popular choice, VLC is lauded primarily for its ability to handle the widest variety of extensions. Considering QuickTime needs third-party extensions in order to mimic this, VLC is inherently the better option.
VLC does have more complexity than QuickTime, and while it has a plethora of utility and native functions, many of them are buried under menus in order to provide for a simpler main screen interface. Still, VLC has kept better with the changing times than QuickTime. While QuickTime does undergo regular updates, VLC has met and adapted to the rising popularity of streaming services.
Also a free program, VLC Media Player allows users to stream content from services like Hulu and Disney+, and even extends to gaming consoles like Xbox and Playstation. Add on top of that it is compatible with Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux, and there’s little reason to choose QuickTime over VLC unless its complicated interface is a turnoff. Furthermore, there is no premium version of VLC, unlike QuickTime, all features are in the default free version.
Stable choice for viewing, editing, and sharing media on Mac
Despite the recent competition, the bottom line is that QuickTime remains a convenient way to play videos stored on your Mac’s hard disk. The application does support multiple file formats, though perhaps not as many as competing products. Native to Mac, its familiarity wins it some points for loyal Apple users, but this free version does lack functionality without extensive third-party codecs and plug-ins. Its ability to stream online content and share media keeps it a good contender for Mac users, but the Windows version is outdated, unsupported, and frankly outmatched by alternative multimedia players like VLC.