RealTime IT News

RealNetworks Delivers RealAudio 8

RealNetworks, Inc. Monday announced the release of RealAudio 8, its new delivery system for Internet audio. Developed in part with Sony Corporation, RealAudio 8 offers audio at a wide range of bit rates. RealAudio 8 also claims CD-quality playback at half the file size of MP3 and it delivers equivalent or better audio quality as RealAudio G2, Reals current standard, at two-thirds the bandwidth.

More than 85 content partners, broadcasters, and technology partners have embraced RealAudio 8, offering content from the Spice Girls, Lyle Lovett, Beastie Boys, PJ Harvey, Yolanda Adams, Linda Ronstadt and more on the Internet at http://realguide.real.com/ra8.

"RealNetworks gave voice to the web with the introduction of RealAudio in 1995. With RealAudio 8, RealNetworks is taking the digital media industry to new heights -- and the sound up here is great," said Rob Glaser, founder and CEO, RealNetworks, Inc. "RealAudio 8 offers the best sound at the broadest range for consumers and broadcasters alike."

Features include:

  • Sound: RealAudio 8 provides CD quality sound at 64Kbps -- half the size of MP3. Indeed, nearly nine out of ten consumers could not istinguish between RealAudio 8 at 64Kbps and the original source CD, according to a September study by KeyLabs.
  • Range: RealAudio 8 provides quality sound all the way from talk radio at low bit rates to archival music downloads at high bit rates. This means that broadcasters and consumers can choose a single solution for encoding at bit rates extending from 16Kbps to 352Kbps.
  • Savings: Because RealAudio 8 outperforms its predecessor RealAudio G2, by providing equivalent performance at two-thirds the bandwidth, media that is streamed using RealAudio 8 is more cost effective for content providers.
  • Industry Adoption: Content providers and broadcasters offering content and programming in RealAudio 8 include Atlantic Records, Capitol Records, Virgin Records, ARTISTdirect, Inc., and House of Blues. More than 20 technology and infrastructure partners such as Sun Microsystems, Akamai, iBeam Broadcasting, Sonic Foundry, and Media100, Inc. are also supporting the release of RealAudio 8. Visit http://realguide.real.com/ra8 to experience RealAudio 8.
  • Complete Digital Media Experience: RealAudio 8 is a complement to the award-winning RealVideo 8, introduced in May 2000. RealAudio 8's improvements in frequency response, artifact reduction and stereo separation, combined with RealVideo 8, create an enhanced media experience.

"ABC Radio is excited to offer programming in RealAudio 8," said Geoff Rich, Executive Vice President, ABC Radio Network. "With the superior quality of RealAudio 8, we will be able to save money on our bandwidth costs, while offering consumers a better listening experience. RealNetworks has once again delivered on the promise of digital media."

"Delivering high quality music is one of our goals and RealAudio 8 provides more choices than ever before," said Marc Geiger, chairman and CEO, ARTISTdirect, Inc. "From streaming to download, from low bit rates to high, artists can be assured their fans are receiving high quality audio."

"House of Blues is the worldwide leader in providing high-quality live music content on the Web," said Stephen L. Felisan, senior vice president of Technology and Interactive, House of Blues. "We've been utilizing the Internet as a true broadcast medium since 1995 and understand the user value that comes with high quality streams at a low bit rate. RealAudio 8 provides extremely high quality audio even at low bit rates."

RealAudio 8 beta for RealPlayer and RealJukebox is available for immediate download and install via each product's AutoUpdate feature. Consumers may visit the RealAudio 8 showcase page at http://realguide.real.com/ra8 to initiate an free AutoUpdate to RealAudio 8.

New versions of RealProducer are also availabl