Classics buffs will remember RealPlayer as the first major digital-media player to sweep the MP3 world. RealPlayer 10 (for Mac and Windows ) sees the legacy of managing your digital library and playing tunes, and ups the ante with added features for optimizing tunes and video. Yet information-choked tabs and constant promotions for premium service get real old, real fast--especially when other (truly) free services out there offer most of RealPlayer's features, minus the open, expectant palm.
When RealPlayer launched back in 1995, it was mostly used to provide consumers with streaming audio and video content without giving them a local copy. Its feature set has grown considerably in recent years, but it's still surprising to see a new RealPlayer 11 beta version that lets users record YouTube videos and Internet radio directly to their hard drives.
Recording streaming media is nothing new, of course. Open-source app Streamripper32 has been letting users record Shoutcast radio for many years, and my favorite audio player, Quintessential Player, can automatically record nearly any audio stream.
RealPlayer was the king of streaming media in the early days of the World Wide Web, but its importance has waned in recent years. Rather than focus entirely on streaming video and audio developments, RealPlayer branched out into paid content offerings and drifted away from the core free media player that everyone adopted to watch streaming movies in the first place. Also, Web 2.0 video sites such as YouTube, Google, Viddler, and Revver--mostly utilizing Adobe Flash Player--have owned the streaming video market.
The Web browser is now the dominant software for streaming media, and a new beta version of RealPlayer represents that shift in the media landscape. While RealPlayer seemed to originally be designed to prevent users from downloading music or video content locally, the new version 11 beta specifically allows users to save streaming content to their hard drives with the click of one button.… Read more
Real Networks has announced a new version of their RealPlayer today that will be available as a PC-only public Beta in June. The player allows users to download and organize nearly all embedded internet video content (Flash, WMV, QuickTime) including content from popular video sites like YouTube, Comedy Central, and of course, CNET. The player was demonstrated for me and actually looks pretty impressive. The new video download feature integrates fairly elegantly into your Web browser (yes, it works on Firefox). It works by temporarily displaying a small, fairly unobtrusive download tab in the right top corner of any video … Read more