RealTime IT News

Sony, RealNetworks Get Closer

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) and RealNetworks Inc. Tuesday expanded the relationship they first announced at the E3 Game Expo in May.

At E3, the two unveiled plans to embed RealPlayer 8 and other RealNetworks client technologies on Sony's PlayStation 2 game console. On Tuesday the companies went a step further and revealed plans to embed RealPlayer 8 on a new Sony product -- the e Villa Network Entertainment Center.

e Villa, which Sony plans to ship later this month at a $500 price point, is a Net appliance for accessing Internet media, e-mail and the Web. Under the agreement, the e Villa user interface will include an on-screen preset button for the Real.com Guide, offering one-click access to the site, which offers consumers a way to navigate music and other entertainment programming on the Web. The e Villa will also utilize RealNetworks' Real.com Radio Tuner, providing access to more than 2,500 radio stations broadcasting on the Net.

"The combination of our leading RealPlayer technology and the ease-of-use of the e Villa unit will deliver a high quality multimedia experience to this burgeoning market," said Mark Bretl, vice president of Consumer Appliances for RealNetworks. "This device represents a new class of consumer appliances designed for the home and we are excited to leverage this growth opportunity as we realize our vision of delivering a great Internet media experience from any platform, to any device."