Upgrading and Configuring QuickTime

Before you start watching and editing movies, you need to do some configuration of QuickTime so that you get the best results on your system. Because you are serious about using a Mac (if you weren't, I assume that you wouldn't have purchased this book), I suggest that you upgrade to QuickTime Pro. With all the additional capability that it brings to your system, it is a very worthwhile investment.

Going Pro

The Pro upgrade helps you in all digital lifestyle areas, not just QuickTime movies. For example, you can use QuickTime Pro to save QuickTime movies to the DV format so that you can import them into iMovie and use them in your iMovie projects. You can also use QuickTime Pro to convert many different file formats into a specific file format that you need. You can also use QuickTime Pro to save QuickTime movies you find on the Web to your Mac. In fact, QuickTime Pro's benefits are too numerous to list in detail. But even the brief list here should be enough to help you see that it is a worthwhile upgrade.

Upgrading to QuickTime Pro

Upgrading to QuickTime Pro does not require any additional software installation; all you need is a registration code. That code "unlocks" the additional features of QuickTime Pro. There are several ways to obtain your QuickTime Pro registration code:

  • Go to www.apple.com/quicktime/download and click the Upgrade Now link.

  • Open the QuickTime Player application, and choose QuickTime Player, Preferences, Registration. Then, click the Register Online button.

  • Open the System Preferences utility, open the QuickTime pane and click Registration, and then click Register Online. You will move onto the registration Web site.

  • Call Apple at 1-888-295-0648 to order the upgrade by phone.


At the time of this writing, the QuickTime Pro upgrade was about $30. After you have used it for a while, you will no doubt agree that this is a real bargain.

Using the Web site to upgrade is quite simple?just follow the onscreen instructions. You will receive your registration code via the order confirmation Web page or via the phone, depending on how you order the upgrade. Save this code because you will need it each time you have to configure QuickTime Pro.


From this point forward, I assume that you have upgraded to QuickTime Pro. If you haven't upgraded to QuickTime Pro, the material beyond basic viewing of QuickTime movies won't work for you.

Configuring QuickTime

You'll need to do some basic configuration of QuickTime to customize it for your system. This configuration is done with the QuickTime pane of the System Preferences utility. Open the System Preferences utility and click the QuickTime icon to open the QuickTime pane. Across the top of the pane, you see the following tabs: Plug-in, Connection, Music, Media Keys, and Update.

The Plug-In Pane

This pane has three check boxes and one button. The "Play movies automatically" check box controls whether QuickTime movies automatically play in your Web browser. This should usually be checked. Check the "Save movies in disk cache" check box if you want movies you view on the Web to be saved in your browser's disk cache. This is a useful option if you like to view a movie more than once during a single browsing session; subsequent viewings are much faster because the movie is read from your disk rather than being downloaded from the Web again. Most users should check this box as well. The "Enable kiosk mode" check box hides some QuickTime Player commands so that movies being viewed can't be saved and other changes can't be made. This option is useful if others will be using your Mac to view movies and you don't want them mucking around with your QuickTime settings or saving movies that they view.

The MIME settings button enables you to choose the types of files that are handled by QuickTime when you encounter them on the Internet. Click the MIME settings button, and you will see the MIME settings sheet. In that sheet, you will see a listing of various groups of file formats, such as Streaming, Video, and so on. Click the Expansion triangle next to each group to see the file formats it contains. Check the box next to the file formats you want to be handled in QuickTime; to have QuickTime handle all the formats in a group, check the group's check box. Click OK.


MIME is the acronym for Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions. As you might guess, MIME was originally developed as a means of exchanging files via e-mail. Now, the term refers to the general encoding schemes used to encode files transferred over the Internet.

The Connection Pane

This pane enables you to configure. This is important because the speed at which you connect to the Net has a huge impact on how movies appear to you when you view them on the Web. Use the Connection Speed pop-up menu to choose your connection speed. If you have a slow connection, such as a 56K modem, the "Allow multiple simultaneous streams" check box will become active (it is disabled for high-speed connections). This option allows QuickTime to download and play multiple QuickTime streams at the same time. With a high-speed connection, this isn't a problem so the check box is disabled (the feature is enabled at all times for fast connections). However, if you use a slow connection, you should uncheck this because the performance will be very poor when your Mac tries to download more than one stream at a time.


Some sites will check the speed of connection you have set for QuickTime and will provide the movie size that the provider feels is appropriate for the connection speed you have selected. If you can't access the size you want, try changing the connection speed to a higher value, even if your connection isn't capable of that speed.

The Instant-On button enables you to configure how streaming movies are played when you view them from the Net or from some other streaming source. When you enable the Instant-On feature, you can set the amount of delay that occurs before a movie starts playing. With a shorter delay, movies will start playing faster, but less buffered data will be stored on your Mac. This means that should some network congestion occur and the download process be slowed, interruptions in movie playback will be more likely.

In most cases, the Instant-On feature is beneficial, especially if you have a fast Internet connection. To enable this feature, click the Instant-On button. In the resulting sheet, check the "Enable Instant-On" check box. Then, drag the slider to set the amount of delay before streams begin playing. With the slider all the way to the left, movies will begin playing immediately. Moving the slider to the right causes a delay in playback, which might lower the amount of interruption you experience. You should experiment with various levels of delay until you achieve fast playback with few or no interruptions. When you have set the slider, click OK to close the sheet.

The Transport Setup button enables you to change the protocol and port that QuickTime uses to download QuickTime streams from the Internet (see Figure 17.1). Your choices are User Datagram Protocol (UDP) or Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). UDP is a good choice because it does less work (such as providing error correction services) and so is likely to provide a better data stream. The port is the logical (rather than physical) connection that is made to your Mac; all services have a unique port. The default UDP port is 554; unless you use another service that uses this same port, there is little reason to change it. If you use HTTP, the default port is 80.

Figure 17.1. The Transport Protocol sheet enables you to change the transport protocol and port used for QuickTime streaming (if you need to?most users won't need to change these).


QuickTime automatically configures the protocol and port for you. However, if you need to set them manually for some reason (such as a conflict with your current configuration), click the Transport Setup button. The Streaming Transport Setup window will appear. Use the pop-up menu to choose the protocol to use and the radio buttons and text field to set the port. You can also reset the automatic configuration by clicking the Auto Configure button. When you are done, close the Streaming Transport Setup window.


If your Mac is behind a firewall or uses unusual ports to connect to the Internet, you might need to use the Streaming Transport Setup dialog box to configure QuickTime for your connection.

The Music Pane

QuickTime can play music using different synthesizers (a synthesizer transforms digital or other signals into specific musical notes, tones, and so on). This pane is useful if you work with a Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) device. By default, the standard QuickTime Music Synthesizer is used. However, you can install various synthesizers and use them to produce the music that is part of QuickTime movie files. If you are involved in creating MIDI files or using a MIDI instrument, you can use this area to select the default synthesizer that should be used.



Working with MIDI devices and other synthesizers is beyond the scope of this book. If you want to learn more about MIDI, check out http://dir.yahoo.com/Entertainment/Music/Computer_Generated/MIDI/.

The Media Keys Pane

Media keys enable you to manage your access to protected data files. If you need to get to QuickTime files that are sensitive, you need to use a password (called a key) to be able to access the files. Individual tracks can also be secured with a key. If you use such secured QuickTime files, you can enter the keys needed to play them in this pane of the window.


To work with secured QuickTime information, you will need its key. You must get the key from the provider of the QuickTime file. Conversely, if you send secured QuickTime files to someone, make sure that you give them the appropriate keys.

To add a media key, click the Add button. In the sheet that appears, enter the category and key information and then click OK. The key will appear in the Media Keys pane. You will be able to view any QuickTime information that is secured with this key. You can delete keys using the Delete button or change them using the Edit button.


Using the security features of QuickTime is beyond the scope of this book. Search the Apple Web site if you need to create or use secured QuickTime files.

The Update Pane

The Update pane enables you to control how updates to QuickTime are handled and to add third-party QuickTime software to your system.

Click the Update Now button to have your Mac check for updates to the QuickTime software. Check the "Check for updates automatically" check box if you want your Mac to check for QuickTime updates when you use QuickTime. If you use a high-speed Internet connection, this option is useful. However, if you use a low-speed connection, you probably won't want to have QuickTime check for updates automatically, so uncheck this check box.

If you click the "Install new 3rd-party QuickTime software" radio button and then click Update Now, your Mac will check for updates to non-Apple QuickTime software.

The Registration Button

Click the Registration button; the Registration sheet will appear (see Figure 17.2). Enter your name, organization, and QuickTime Pro registration code that Apple provided to you. When you are finished entering your information, click OK.

Figure 17.2. You upgrade QuickTime to QuickTime Pro using the Registration sheet (the current version of QuickTime is shown in the middle of the sheet; after you upgrade, this will show that you are using the Pro Player Edition).


Verify that the upgrade was successful by clicking the Registration button again. The version information should now reflect that you are using the Pro Player version.


If the registration was not successful, you will see an error dialog box; or if, when you return to the Registration sheet, you still see that the version is Basic, see "My Attempt to Upgrade to QuickTime Pro Failed" in the Troubleshooting section at the end of this chapter for help.

Restart your Mac to ensure that you use the Pro Player version of the QuickTime Player.


The QuickTime Pro registration information is part of the preferences for each user account you have created for your Mac. If you enter this information for only one user, only that user will have access to QuickTime Pro's features. Other users will still be able to use the Basic version of QuickTime. If you want specific users to have access to QuickTime Pro, you will need to repeat the registration process when logged in under those user accounts.

The other information, such as connection speed, is also dependent on the user account that is logged in. You need to configure QuickTime for each user for which you create an account on a single Mac OS X machine.

    Part I: Mac OS X: Exploring the Core
    Part III: Mac OS X: Living the Digital Lifestyle