RealTime IT News

RealNetworks Unveils New Portals, RealPlayer Upgrade

RealNetworks Monday split its Web site into two new business- and consumer-oriented portals, and has linked its RealPlayer 7 upgrade to its newly unveiled network services.

RealNetworks now offers the business-oriented RealNetworks.com and the consumer-oriented Real.com Network.

Real.com intends to offer consumers a springboard to aggregated audio and video programming through RealPlayer 7, also released Monday, as well as access to partnered media companies for daily programming through its Real.com Take5 service. Take5 will only be available through RealPlayer 7.

Consumer site content for Take5 includes news, music, and entertainment programming. Industry heavyweights such as the BBC, Snap.com, ABC, CBS, ARTISTdirect, and AtomFilms have all signed in on the deal. The new Real.com Message Service will notify users of news and broadcasting updates.

The Real.com Network boasts support from more than 300 content and technology partners, with programming from more than 100 major media companies as well as access to 95 channel partners and 2,000 live radio stations.

RealNetworks.com, on the other hand, will target the online media business audience. The site will allow users to create and broadcast content, and to access research, news and business streaming media solutions. RealNetworks expects the new portal to help businesses take advantage of streaming media and get a foot in online broadcasting.

"For the first time, developers and operators of media delivery systems and services have a Web site devoted to their needs," the company said.

The new RealPlayer 7 includes renovations on start-up time, user interface and navigation features. The service boasts improvements in MP3 performance, 40 percent increase in start-up speeds, and a 45 percent decrease in memory usage with an additional 40 percent decrease in CPU use.

RealPlayer now counts more than 85 million unique users, an increase of more than 40 million users this year. The company estimates that 85 percent of streaming media Web sites use its services.

RealNetworks (RNWK) also pointed to enhancements of its SMIL-based streaming media and digital delivery system, RealSystem G2. SMIL presentations from 25 content partners will debut today in conjuction with the release of RealPlayer 7.

RealNetworks called the portal move a reponse to user maturity as streaming media settles into the mainstream.