RealPlayer used to be cool, until iTunes and Windows Media Player made it obsolete. The new RealPlayer is badass for one reason: It can rip net videos, even those on YouTube and from video streams, with a single click.
It won't work on DRM'd enabled content. But so many sites use Flash players as their sole download deterrent, or video streams that can't be saved as more than a bookmark otherwise. The UI on the player pops up over a Flash or movie stream window, allowing you to click to download. What's cool is that it preserves meta-data, like name, rating, description, and where you got it from. Sharing videos with friends at that point sends the source URL instead of the actual video file. Right now, it can't transcode, but it will burn DVDs if you pay for the registered version. Thankfully, the freeware still rips.
Will it nag you to upgrade in old school Real fashion? I don't know. But the beta is live now, and it's worth checking out. [UPDATE: June...live in June, not now.]
RealNetworks Introduces Breakthrough New RealPlayer
New One-Click Downloading Lets Consumers Enjoy Videos from Thousands of Web Sites Wherever and Whenever They Want
CARLSBAD, Calif., D: All Things Digital Conference - May 31, 2007, 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time - Leading digital entertainment services company RealNetworks® today unveiled the new RealPlayer®, the first media player to make it one-click simple to download online videos from thousands of Web sites. The new RealPlayer makes it easy for consumers to watch videos whenever and wherever they want, burn them to DVD and CD, and share video links with friends. Most major formats are supported, including Real, Windows Media, Flash, and Quicktime. The new RealPlayer will be available for free beginning next month at RealPlayer.com.
"The new RealPlayer gives consumers more control of Internet video than was ever possible before," said Rob Glaser, chairman and CEO of Real. "By floating a "download this video" button next to video seen on thousands of Web sites, RealPlayer makes it one-click simple. The new RealPlayer is a major step towards realizing our vision of bringing great digital entertainment to more people on more screens around the world."
In 1995 RealNetworks gave the Internet a voice with the first-ever Internet broadcast via the release of the RealAudio® player, an innovation that garnered Real a coveted Emmy Award® by The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Since then, the RealPlayer has become one of the most downloaded software applications on the Internet, with an average of more than 1.5 million copies downloaded daily.
Fast Facts about the New RealPlayer:
n Consumers can use the innovative, single-click process to quickly download and save videos for later enjoyment.
n Consumers can download multiple videos simultaneously with RealPlayer, allowing people to save time and easily multitask. Users can also start downloading in the middle of watching a video, and the entire video will be captured.
n Consumers don't need to worry about video format compatibility issues - the new RealPlayer supports videos created in the most popular formats, including Flash, Windows Media, Quicktime, and Real.
n Consumers can easily burn videos to CD (or to DVD, using RealPlayer Plus). The Video CD format used by RealPlayer can be played in most DVD players.
n Consumers can send links of their favorite videos to their friends with a convenient "Share with a Friend" feature. The link that arrives in their friends' email will direct them to the online source of the video content their friend downloaded.
n RealPlayer supports both downloading and recording for popular streaming format (Windows Media, Real, and Quicktime)
n RealPlayer will only download/record video that is not protected by DRM (Digital Rights Management) systems.
n RealPlayer features an improved look and feel, a streamlined installation process and faster video playback.
n RealPlayer will first be released for Windows, and will work with both Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. Real plans a version for the Mac to be released later in the year.
"RealPlayer feeds the appetite consumers have for interesting Web video while maintaining a connection with the content source," said Lisa Hungness, general manager, New Media for National Geographic Magazine Online that hosts video content, including WildCams—Web cams that stream live video of animals in the wild, connecting people to animals and environments around the world at www.nationalgeographic.com/wildcam. "Our WildCam fans love to download and share our video. Thousands of our clips are posted across the Web. This will be a great new trend in online video viewing for consumers and content owners alike because consumers can share links back to the videos' origin where similar experiences may be found and enjoyed."
"Time-shifting of recorded or downloaded content is a natural next step in the progression of the online video distribution and consumption," said Michael McGuire, vice president, Gartner, Inc.. "For online video fans, the ability to capture, store and forward content is going to be transformative."
A beta of the new RealPlayer will be available for the public in June 2007 via a free download from www.realplayer.com. Consumers and media are invited to visit the www.realplayer.com site to participate in the RealPlayer blog, register for product information and updates, and share ideas about how the new RealPlayer's capabilities could change the face of online video.
Future versions of RealPlayer, which are now in development, will enable users to transfer online video content to their personal media devices for on-the-go viewing.