Real’s Helix Finds Big-Name Partners

Exactly three months after a surprising
move
to open-source parts of its technology,
Seattle-based RealNetworks is set
to unveil partnerships with big-name electronics and
chipset firms using the Helix DNA client.

At an 11:00 a.m webcast, Real CEO Rob Glaser will
announce deals with several electronics firms
including Acer, Hitachi, NEC, Nokia, Philips
STMicroelectronics, and Texas Instruments to deliver
audio and video to consumers through the open-source
Helix DNA Client and RealAudio/RealVideo.

Additionally, Real is expected to announce six CE
chipset companies would start shipping with RealVideo
support. The company said electronic chipset
companies would integrate RealAudio, RealVideo and
RealOne Player support into their offerings.

Already, the source code has been built into the NEC
MobilePro P300 Series Pocket PC, which has been fitted
a complete RealOne Player with support for RealAudio
and RealVideo and the company said Nokia
has included the RealOne Player as a
standard within its Symbian-based mobile devices
including the 3650 and 7650, and on the Nokia Series
60 platform.

The company announced Acer would optimize RealVideo
and RealAudio for their chipsets targeted toward the
DVD market while Hitachi would push RealAudio and
RealVideo on its SuperH RISC processor series used in
digital set-top boxes, PDAs, mobile phones, wearable
internet appliances, digital cameras, car information
systems and factory automation systems.

Real has also found a partner in NEC, which has
optimized RealAudio and RealVideo for its 64-bit VR
Series microprocessor platform for consumer
electronics, satellite set-top boxes, personal video
recorders and web pads.

Philips has also joined the party, tying the RealOne
Player into its Nexperia platform and Trimedia-based
processors, including the newly announced pnx 1500 for
set top boxes. The company also said
STMicroelectronics would tie RealVideo 9 into its
family of devices targeting the set top box, mobile,
and DVD markets. Texas Instruments has also optimized
the RealOne Player Mobile for its popular OMAP
platform and chipsets for mobile handsets.

With big-name partners to help with its launch on
Tuesday, RealNetworks is gett
ing down to business
with the first official release
of the Helix DNA Client, which officials say
represents “a significant portion of the technology
that goes into the RealOne Player and other
RealNetworks products.”

The Helix DNA Client includes the decoder for
RealAudio/RealVideo as well as source code of the
media engine for the company’s RealOne Player.

The company also released the pricing on its licensing
for the Helix DNA Client, which can be downloaded at
the Helix
Community
site.

RealNetworks said companies or individuals looking to
distribute the Helix DNA Client get free licensing
for the first million units annually and $0.10/unit
beyond that. Additional licensing terms for RealAudio
and RealVideo distribution are $0.25/unit for non-PC
products ($1M annual maximum payment). Broadband
video-based devices, however, require a separate
license.

Real said the pricing is “more affordable than MPEG-4,
which in addition to costs for the video decoder,
requires a storage and broadcast fee.”

More than 2,000 developers have registered with Helix
Community, which is running the open-source program.
The Helix DNA Client being released Tuesday includes
Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X clients that support
RealAudio, RealVideo, MPEG-4, MP3, H.263 and 3GPP
formats. Real plans to add Server and encoder code to
the community in December.

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