Apple has announced that the H.264/Advanced Video Codec (AVC) will be incorporated in its QuickTime software in an upcoming release next year.
The video technology has been ratified by the DVD Forum for use in the High Definition (HD) DVD format; it was jointly developed by the Motion Picture Expert's Group (MPEG) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and has been ratified into the MPEG-4 specification as well.
Apple has already demonstrated H.264 in action at April's NAB 2004 show in Las Vegas. The video codec can scale to everything from 3G smart-phones to high definition television and video. At NAB, Apple showed H.264 video playing on Power Mac G5 systems in full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 24p) at between 6.8 and 8MBps -- about half the data rate of MPEG-2, the video compression standard used in DVD encoding.
Apple senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller said that Apple is supporting the H.264 specification because of the codec's quality and its basis on open standards. "QuickTime 6 has already topped 250 million downloads, making it one of the most successful media standards ever, and we will be adding support for H.264 to QuickTime next year," he said.