Let’s face it: RealPlayer hasn’t been a viable media player for almost ten years. As Technologizer’s David Worthington wrote for Betanews in 2000, “A once useful media player’s standard installation was transformed into a bloated menagerie of components and add-ons with the release of RealPlayer 7. These needlessly suck away system resources and add useless functionality…”
Today, RealNetworks finds itself competing not so much against Windows Media Player as with the likes of DownloadHelper. Real is now working to generate interest among free media consuming types with the launch of RealPlayer SP, which lets users download unprotected Flash videos to keep.
The latest version of Real’s software allows videos to be captured and converted to formats such as MPEG4, Windows Media, QuickTime, and of course RealVideo. When converting files, the software presents a number of preset device profiles (iPod, BlackBerry, Nokia S60, etc.) so it can automatically format the video for its destination. Furthermore, audio can be ripped from online videos in the event that the user just wants the song playing in the background.
The freeware supports the latest versions of Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Chrome and can be downloaded at Realplayer.com today. By shelling out €29.99 for the full version of RealPlayer SP, users can add H.264 conversion as well as DVD playback and burning.