Apple MovieTalk - video conf in colour over internet...

Martin Hill (EST)
Wed, 16 Nov 1994 22:09:57 -0500

How does MovieTalk compare with CU-SeeMe? (Sorry if this has been dealt
with already on this list!)

I've recently tried out a beta of Apple's MovieTalk software and was fairly
impressed with it's capabilities over Ethernet. I don't know how it
performs over TCP/IP and lower bandwidth connections. I am also unsure as
to whether MovieTalk will be cross-platform or Mac-only. It's features and
flexibility are quite impressive:

- Colour video
- Wide range of all the standard QuickTime options for compressing video
and audio depending on your bandwidth. Being QuickTime based, the
component manager means new codecs or video boards etc should just plug in
and work.
- Support for Appletalk, TCP/IP (and other protocals/media with Open Transport)
- Shared drawing/typing window in colour
- Point-to-point conferencing and broadcast support (I'm not 100% sure
about multi-cast)
- Open architecture meaning that other developers are able to develop their
own conferencing apps with whatever extra features they wish based on the
movietalk engine.
- Record conference to disk option

It all looked very interesting. I have no idea what overhead all these
extra features impose with restricted bandwidth connections (ie most of the
internet!) but the ability to choose from a range of video and audio
codecs giving a variety of options along the performance vs. quality graph
seemed to address a number of concerns.

Does anyone (from Cornell in particular) have an idea of the pros and cons
of MovieTalk when compared with CU-SeeMe? I assume the latter will remain
PD or at least shareware in the near term while the Apple product will
perhaps be commercial, although there's always the possibility of Apple
rolling this technology into the system ala QuickTime, AppleScript,
PowerTalk, PlainTalk, Apple Video Phone, PC Exchange, etc. What third
parties do with products based on the MovieTalk engine is something else

I would assume that CU-SeeMe would give better performance over low
bandwidth connections due to lower overheads etc. On LANs and other high
bandwidth nets the extra features of MovieTalk make it quite enticing. I
noticed however, that the delay in reproducing audio at the receiving end
appeared to be longer than I've experienced with CUSM (both over ethernet).
Perhaps this is an indication of the performance penalties of this

Perhaps the major question would be - Is there any chance of
inter-operation between MovieTalk and CUSM?

Looking for feedback,


Martin Hill Internet:
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