Get ready for a whole new
multimedia experience. RealNetworks' RealOne, a silver hybrid of RealPlayer
and RealJukebox, has made a rather silent landing on the world of
multimedia. RealOne is a streaming-video player, Web browser, online
radio tuner, CD player, music organiser, and disc burner all packaged
in one easy-to-use, application. Though it could use some improvements
in searching, it is quite a neat piece of software. RealOne Gold (the
one you have to pay for) comes without streaming ads and constant
reminders to upgrade. It's a far less intrusive experience than what
you get with the free player.
RealNet-works has gone all out to create a ground breaking media
player. Believe it or not, RealOne actually does feel like a new
way of enjoying the Internet. The old RealPlayer was a video toy;
RealJukebox was simply a nice way to catalogue and play music; Windows
Media Player a solid combination of all those features, but the
RealOne goes beyond all three. It's fresh and original.
As with previous
versions of Real products, you have to install this application
with care, as RealOne will take over all your audio and video settings
unless you change file format preferences during installation. Once
you're up and running, the RealOne interface consists of a main
screen divided into three parts: a presentation area on the top
left, where streaming video or music plays; related information
on the streaming content on the top right; and a Web browser in
the bottom pane. When you start up the programme or press the Home
button in the centre of the screen, the Web browser displays the
RealOne home page, which highlights streaming content from a variety
of sources. Annoyingly, though, a streaming video ad also begins
The left side
of the Web browser window contains RealOne Topic Centres, including
music, sports, entertainment, news, and RealOne Central. Topic Centre
pages highlight new content and provide links to category sub-pages.
Music, for example, features sub-pages for alternative, classical,
and country, and news links to pages for CNN and ABC News. On each
page, about half the content is available to basic users and half
is marked as premium content for paid subscribers. Premium content
includes clips of not previously broadcast material from Survivor
(more than 30 minutes of material for each episode), highlights
from Fox Sports, and news reports from ABC and CNN. Real has released
RealVideo 9.0, so users who upgrade their players will see improved
performance with a new video codec. The new codec is said to improve
streaming image quality slightly. Videos in RealOne's music area
look especially sharp and impressive. Video quality performs relatively
well even over a 56k modem. It gets occasionally jerky or blocky
but is not all that bad.
is an all-in-one application, it lets you play and create CDs with
ease and streams media files too. To play, rip, or burn a CD, insert
it into your computer and press the CD button on the bottom of the
screen. From the resulting screen, you can either listen to your
music or encode it. To encode, press the Preferences button in the
lower left corner to set the format. You can create RealAudio 8,
MP3, WAV, or Windows Media Audio (WMA) files. (By contrast, Windows
Media Player lets you encode only WMA files.) RealOne's basic service
lets you encode MP3s at 56Kbps, 65Kbps, or 96Kbps, while premium
users can record at up to 320Kbps. This is a big difference if you
are serious about sound. (For passable encoding speed, use 96Kbps,
but 128Kbps or more is preferred.) Creating a CD is slightly more
complex, but overall, both processes are intuitive enough for beginners.
fans must see this. RealOne transfers music to 23 different portable
devices, including Creative Labs Nomad, Sonicblue Rio, Sony CLIE,
and Iomega HipZip, and it includes a radio tuner that serves up
22 genres. Unfortunately, some functions of the radio tuner's search
feature, such as specifying the country of origin for the stations
you want, simply don't work.
free version includes a barrage of incredibly annoying ads, which
often causes the screen to go black; in some cases, it actually
changes the RealPlayer layout. Add to that the frequent requests
to upgrade, and the price of the free product quickly becomes evident.
not you want to pay, RealOne Player is worth a try. Plus, you'll
get a 14-day free trial of the premium services, so you have every
reason to give it a whirl. Unfortunately, Mac owners won't find
a compatible version of RealOne until the first half of next year,
but I bet it will be worth the wait.
- High Density DVD: the next generation optical DVD disc. As of
early 2002, the DVD forum was struggling to get agreement on a single
standard, with rival proposals for formats specifying single-side
capacities of between 9MB and 27MB under consideration.
Joliet - An
extension of the ISO 9660 standard, developed by Microsoft to allow
CDs to be recorded using long file names, and using the Unicode
international character set. Joliet allows use of file names up
to 64 characters in length, including spaces.
Red Book -
The Philips/Sony specification for audio (CD-DA) compact discs.
UDF - Universal
Disk Format: a file system for optical media developed by the Optical
Storage Technology Association (OSTA). It was designed for read-write
inter-operability between all the major operating systems as well
as compatibility between re-writable and write-once media.
allows for efficient recording of small packages of data, using
incremental packet writing.