New for the media server for macOS 10.15 and newer is the integrated movie segmenter (MPEG4AppleHLS), which breaks down movies into M3U8 segments and streams them to the media client (available in the MediaCenter). Previously only available as an extra installation through the mediafilesegmenter, Apple has now also integrated this function as a system routine.
After initial enthusiasm – after all, this could make both VLC 2.2.8 and ffmpeg superfluous – the disillusionment quickly followed: contrary to the usual M3U8, which also enables streaming if the entire movie is not yet available as segments, Apple has chossen a format in which the entire movie must be segmented. This is okay for short videos (e.g. iPhone recordings), but e.g. cinema movies would always have to be completely segmented beforehand. With a large movie collection of e.g. 8 TB, this would not only take time but also require another 8 TB of hard drive space. Since the media server segments movies ad hoc and then deletes the segments again, this solution can only be used for short movies (because these are segmented quickly enough and the segments can be deleted again after streaming).
If the size of a movie was changed during movie editing (e.g. to remove annoying black bars at the top and bottom), then this movie could only be streamed if the width / height is an even number. This incompatibility is now recognized and corrected accordingly.
Movies streamed to another Mac through the media server are presented there through the WebKit (HTML). Unfortunately, unlike the AppleTV and iPhone, the Mac system routines (AVFoundation) can not play M3U8 movies.
The WebKit used so far has been marked as “deprecated” by Apple – so we have integrated the new WebKit.
In addition, we have improved the display, integrated zooming and the preservation of the playback speed (slow motion or faster playback). The display duration for images etc. is also retained.
Unfortunately, while one might expect newer systems to be faster, the exact opposite is the case. Unfortunately, we already noticed this when accessing the Music App (instead of iTunes) – and this also applies to the creation of the preview images and meta information.
As a result, scrolling in the MediaCenter was sometimes “suboptimal” – only with the new asynchronous creation of this information (right side in the MediaCenter) is it somewhat smooth again for macOS 10.15 and newer.