RealPlayer 11 – Best new application of the year? Maybe.


An email request was sent to me by a friend of mine named Belinda about what she thought would be really groundbreaking news. This marketing exec extraordinaire need the scoop so I had to check this out. Your friendly neighborhood computer guy was hot on the case.
The application was the old school media favorite RealPlayer with a new facelift and a couple of new features. I’ve been well versed in the Real product line for quite some time. It’s been a great program to me but for some reason I have found it’s support of some codecs and the download of compatible ones to have many needs to be desired when great programs like VLC have less glitz but get the job done.

RealPlayer has put in a little glitz but it has one great super fantastic thing. It will save videos from the web to your hard disk. Yes, that is what it sounds like. You can go on and see a video you like and save it to your hard drive. Watch it over and over again or give it to a friend (let’s get back to that friend part in a moment). Once installed it will make Firefox and Internet Explorer have a little box on the cursor whenever you move the mouse over a web video using Flash, Mpeg4, and a lot more. Seeing as how the beta will be available to the general public in a matter of days I expect more codecs will be added before the final release. This is as groundbreaking as Belinda thought it would be. I got kind of excited of using this oldie but goodie. However, I found a couple chinks in it’s armor that the future may hold.

The Rhapsody music system was easy to get up and running and is a good iTunes on some levels but seriously NOTrealplayer_.jpg iTunes (even though I’ve said why I really don’t like iTunes article:”iTunes sucks”) but still not shabby.

The most serious problem is Digital Rights Management (DRM) compliance. Real has stated for the record that they will comply with whatever DRM a website has in place. This hurts the internet in a couple ways. DRM is a tricky subject that I won’t throw in my two cents right now. However, Apple has in the last couple weeks that it is now against DRM and is trying to figure out it’s exit strategy for using it but may not totally come for at least a year or more if ever. This move by Real will fuel it. What will happen is sites like will lose the exposure that they enjoy if people start copying their videos off and sharing them without using a youtube link. Thus their next logical option will be to DRM all of their content to stop RealPlayer from taking the content and spreading it through more nefarious means.

Will DRM become rampant on the internet to stop RealPlayer’s cool new features? Is the demise of DRM still imminent?

My take is, RealPlayer is real big and really nice. Definitely worth trying out the second it becomes available. Save a couple of videos for your personal collection. The file naming convention still has a couple tweaks needed to smoothly put your saved files where you want in a nice way but that also may be tweaked soon. Hopefully, Real puts all these features in the open source version Helix. This way programmers all over the internet will take out the icky problem that they may great.

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