The format specifies a multimedia container file that contains one or more tracks, each of which stores a particular type of data: audio, video, effects, or text (e.g. for subtitles). Each track either contains a digitally-encoded media stream (using a specific format) or a data reference to the media stream located in another file. Tracks are maintained in a hierarchical data structure consisting of objects called atoms. An atom can be a parent to other atoms or it can contain media or edit data, but it cannot do both.
The ability to contain abstract data references for the media data, and the separation of the media data from the media offsets and the track edit lists means that QuickTime is particularly suited for editing, as it is capable of importing and editing in place (without data copying). Other later-developed media container formats such as Microsoft's Advanced Systems Format or the Matroska and Ogg containers lack this abstraction, and require all media data to be rewritten after editing.
Correlation with MP4
Because both the QuickTime and MP4 container formats can use the same MPEG-4 formats, they are mostly interchangeable in a QuickTime-only environment. MP4, being an international standard, has more support. This is especially true on hardware devices, such... Read More