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Sorenson Puts the Squeeze on Mac

Sorenson (www.sorenson.com) announced on Monday that it will be releasing a new compression tool for the Mac called Sorenson Squeeze. Naturally, Squeeze only supports output into QuickTime format in Sorenson Video 3 for either streaming or downloading, although it does support Apple's MPEG-4 format as well. The software can input AVI, QuickTime or DV video, along with a variety of audio codecs.

Ammen Harper, director of product marketing at Sorenson Media said Squeeze isn't made for the professional compressionist. "It's not a Cleaner replacement, it's a sophisticated video tool for professionals," he said. He called Squeeze a perfect companion to Apple's iMovie video editing software.

Still, there's the possibility of eating into the sales of either Media 100, makers of the popular compression tool, Cleaner 5. However, Harper said that Sorenson has a good relationship with Media 100. But why buy Squeeze when you can get the same encoding functionality from QuickTime Pro for $29.95? Harper said that the biggest advantage is Squeeze's variable bit rate compression, saying users can use "two pass" or "fast pass" compression to tweak video quality.

Since Squeeze will only support QuickTime, the real value may be in licensing the technology to others. Sorenson announced that Squeeze uses a new "middleware software engine" called Automated Compression Engine (ACE), that makes it easier to compress media. Harper said that ACE will be available for OEM licensing, so third-party software developers can add support for Sorenson into their products. Telestream is integrating ACE into its FlipFactory encoding platform.

"Our products are about simplifying the compression workflow," said Shawn Carnahan, CTO of Telestream. "Sorenson Media's ACE is a perfect fit to integrate into our products because it allows us to marry Sorenson's industry-leading video quality in a way that works perfectly within FlipFactory's world-leading compression automation solutions."

Currently, Sorenson Squeeze will only be available on a Macintosh, although Harper said the company is working to support Windows users in the future. Harper said there will also be a standard and pro edition of Squeeze. The software will be available in the fourth quarter, at a price yet to be determined.

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