Perian is a popular QuickTime Component, which adds several formats to QuickTime. This allows you to play everything from Divx to Flash Video inside of QuickTime, all with one simple tool. It’s great, and I wish Apple would incorporate as much of Perian as possible into QuickTime.
However, there is one problem. Perian replaces Apple’s H.264 processor with its own. Perian’s is more open to foreign formats, but it’s also a bit less friendly. For example, if you have a new MacBook with PureVideo, Perian knocks out the hardware H.264 decoding. This is because only Apple’s H.264 decoder is able to access the PureVideo technology on the GeForce 9400 (and 8600M… if Apple will do the right thing).
Today’s bug is a bit more dramatic however. Apple cautions that Perian cannot properly convert AVCHD video files for use with iMovie and Final Cut, in some circumstances. If the conversion fails, iMovie/Final Cut will crash.
Apple’s solution is to uninstall Perian. My suggestion to Perian is two-fold. One, switch back to Apple’s H.264 decoder (leave Perian’s as an advanced option, so someone can toggle to it if absolutely necessary). And, two, add a toggle switch for Perian, so that in the future, Perian can be temporarily disabled… without going through the hassle of reinstalling.