Over at Dustbury, a discussion popped up about Apple’s bundling of the Safari web browser with the latest version of iTunes. As many of you know, it’s difficult to impossible to download Apple’s bundling of Quicktime with iTunes so that you can’t get the former without getting the latter. I never really objected to the latter bundling since iTunes is going to be a necessity when it comes to introducing my wife to our MP3 collection, but I have a suggestion for anyone that wants Quicktime but doesn’t want iTunes: don’t download Quicktime.

The Quicktime movie player is required to watch certain media types, which is really the only reason most non-Apple users download it to begin with. Fortunately, there is Quicktime Alternative. QTA allows you to view Quicktime files using most viewing software (including browsers).

Irony of ironies, it does come bundled with a viewer called Media Player Classic. However, MPC is so non-obtrusive as to even be a little inconvenient in a way. I wish it would hijack movie extensions (so that if you click on a movie in Windows Explorer MPC will come up instead of WMP or whatever software you have) because it would mean that I wouldn’t have to manually reassign them. It doesn’t take up any resources when you’re not running it and is extremely resource-conscious when it is (I have old computers that won’t run videos properly on anything except MPC). I think that there is an option to choose not to install MPC if that is your preference, though, and Quicktime files will run in most of the software you already have.

In addition to Quicktime Alternative is Real Alternative, which allows you to view RealPlayer files without needing RealPlayer. RealPlayer isn’t bundled with any software as far as I know, but they try to hook you into their pay service.

Quicktime Alternative, Real Alternative, and Media Player Classic are all completely free.

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5 Responses to Helpful Software: Real Quick Alternatives

  1. Webmaster says:

    Actually you can get Quicktime in a standalone, but it’s hidden on Apple’s site well enough that the only way I’ve ever found the link was to do a google search for the term “quicktime standalone.”

  2. Linus says:

    Uhh…I just went to Apple’s site looking for an un-bundled copy of Quicktime. From apple.com, I clicked on downloads, then the download link for Quicktime, then selected the version without iTunes. It doesn’t get much easier.

    There are always alternatives out there, but frankly, I don’t see that it’s worth taking to time to hunt them down.

  3. trumwill says:


    Interesting. I haven’t tried to download either in quite some time. I’m not sure whether they’ve changed their web site’s interface or whether I previously had gotten a different interface (for instance a plug-in finder for a browser sent me somewhere else).

    I can agree about hunting down some of these programs. Had it not been recommended to me I never would have found Quicktime Alternative, and thus I recommend it here. Once you know about it, though, it’s just as easy to google “Quicktime Alternative” than it is to find it on the Apple website. Now that I do know about it, I don’t need to download Quicktime as Alternative is the superior alternative for what I want to do (which is simply to watch videos).

    The same goes for Real Alternative compared to RealPlayer. Both Quicktime and RealPlayer are not resource-friendly, but the Alternatives and MPC are.

  4. Brandon Berg says:

    I was able to find standalone Quicktime easily, but it nags me to install “Quicktime+iTunes” 2-3 times per week. And today it started nagging me to install Safari, too. Thanks for telling us about QTA.

    I have no idea whether Apple’s reputation for high-quality software on their own platform is justified, but my experiences with their software on Windows certainly gives me cause for doubt.

  5. trumwill says:

    Nags when loading are really are quite irritating, aren’t they? It’s not the same thing, but I wrote a long post on update nags a while back.

    Quicktime really is a pretty crummy program. I can’t imagine anyone installing it but for the need to play QT-specific files. It’s not as bad as the program that comes with DivX, but close.

    iTunes is actually a pretty nifty program, though there may be better ones out there. I’m just a little too old school in preferring to load files manually than to mess with media libraries and whatnot. I’m a WinAmp guy.

    I’m kind of a connoisseur of browsers, so I’ll probably give Safari a try at some point.

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