Originally Published: Sunday, 9 April 2000 Author: Olav Phillips
Published to: enhance_articles_multimedia/Video Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

OH MY GOD! Realnetworks Releases Realplayer7

It is a well known fact that there is no real good way to stream video at a low bit rate. Audio is a snap and we can now use open source solutions like Icecast and Xmms or even Shoutcast. Both now support on-demand streaming; however, they don't provide video.

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It is a well known fact that there is no real good way to stream video at a low bit rate. Audio is a snap and we can now use open source solutions like Icecast and Xmms or even Shoutcast. Both now support on-demand streaming; however, they don't provide video.

Houston, we have a problem, and it's an old problem.

Long ago Realnetworks established themselves as the "Internet Streaming Standard" which led to the wide deployment of their proprietary software. They even made the encoder and windows based player free (you can even get a free version of their server).

So here we've got Realnetworks files everywhere only that in Linux it's no good to play them. Here's how it worked out...

Realnetworks sees Linux as a great OS for serving this software, but not as a workstation. A few loyal Linux engineers at Realnetworks keep working on a player and as player development clicks along, eventually a 5.0 player becomes available. The player is glitchy and it's development is stagnate. So Real figures that since people are downloading this, why not port G2 to linux? It gets to Alpha, lacking basic G2 functionality like SMIL support and an embedded Netscape plugin, and then it all ends quite suddenly. Years go by and finally the Player goes Beta. Within two weeks Realplayer7 Linux is released.

Why did Realnetworks speed up development so much? The reason lies with Red Hat and its beneficial aspects. All that remains now is to 'open source' it.

So what's the big deal about the new Beta Player? Its Beta - Which means is still FREE!
Full SMIL support - no need to embed the SMIL links in RAM files! And now you can create nice interfaces which play in the player itself.
Take5 - you can watch that Matrix trailer over and over without even leaving your Realplayer7.
Embedded Player Plugin - you can embed a player in an html page and still watch it in Linux.
SureStream - It allows the encoder to have the player automatically detect your connection speed. It works but for those of you serving this software, it does increase the file size by a factor of 2 to 3. Better Video Compression Codex - Low bit rate video is not the greatest, but better.

What does it all mean? This is a major movement by Realnetworks to support Linux as a desktop environment and it lends credence to the idea that Linux is a viable workstation. Is this the end all be all? Probably not, but it means we can do more online and it makes life easier.

Real Video is good for low bit rate video streaming, but as far as audio goes, lets just say I'm not hanging up my copy of XMMS anytime soon.





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