RealTime IT News

Hear It All, See It All

RealNetworks, which just last month launched a digital media universal server called Helix for the enterprise, released a new version of its RealOne Player, upgraded to offer playback of every major digital media format.

The Seattle-based company said the new version plays RealAudio, RealVideo, MP3, Windows Media and Apple's QuickTime MPEG-4, and more than 50 other formats.

The new RealOne Player v2.0 also includes enhanced Internet radio services as well as a CD burning function and DVD playback support.

The full-featured product will require consumers to fork over some cash, but the basic RealPlayer remains free. RealOne Player Plus is available for a one-time fee of $19.95. And then there are various subscription options.

"Today's announcement truly changes the rules of digital media for both consumers and the industry. With only one player, consumers can now get all the media they want -- just click and it plays," said Rob Glaser, founder and CEO of RealNetworks.

The new RadioPass, which costs $5.95 a month as a stand-alone product or $12.95 a month combined with the existing SuperPass premium content package, will be available later this week.

RealOne RadioPass is a new subscription offering that includes a 'Now Playing' feature that shows what songs are playing on 50 ad-free pre-programmed radio stations accessible by genre. Subscribers also get access to talk radio schedules with links allowing consumers to catch their favorite syndicated talk show when it is convenient for them, not simply when it is on in their local market. With the new universal access to stations formatted in Windows Media and QuickTime MPEG-4, consumers can search among more than 3,200 Internet radio stations for their favorite music or genre.

The CD burner technology is the result of a deal with Irvine, Calif.-based NTI (NewTech Infosystems Inc.).

As part of the agreement, NTI and RealNetworks will jointly market and promote each other's software products in the PC and CD drive OEM channels, as well as the software retail channel. NTI will also bundle the RealOne Player and offer it in conjunction with NTI CD-Maker, an award-winning, full-featured CD burning software.

Offering DVD playback support for the first time, RealOne Player gives consumers a full-screen theater mode for viewing and new contextual DVD controls for the ultimate in easy navigation. Options include the ability to mouse through the traditional DVD controls such as menu, chapter, title and language options, and an on-screen digital DVD remote.

TurboPlay, RealNetworks' breakthrough technology introduced earlier this year to enable near-instant playback of digital media, is now included in the free RealOne Player and supports playback of live content.

Microsoft is scheduled to unveil the latest version of its Windows Media Player early next month.