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Today Apple released a public beta version of QuickTime 6. I have just spent a few hours playing with it, and the new MPEG-4 File Format is superb. Not only can you now author QuickTime movies that are fully viewable in Real Player, but once Real updates its codecs to allow MPEG-4, both media formats will be completely interchangeable. Microsoft, of course, has to go its own way, and it may be that its MPEG-4 will not be compatible. But who cares? For a sneak preview of the Web’s future mode of media delivery, visit Apple and download the beta version.

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