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Real Problems 481

Posted by michael
from the monetization dept.
Universal Nerd writes "Could Real be its own downfall? According to 'Find the Download in a Haystack', it could be. The difficulty folks have in reaching the free version of RealPlayer is forcing Minnesota Public Radio to look towards Windows Media Player as an alternative. I prefer good old MP3 or OGG streaming like the feeds offered at WCPE but I'm sure no 'serious' company would consider it because they don't have their digital rights preserved." See the CarTalk story from yesterday.
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Real Problems

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  • FP (Score:5, Funny)

    by Wiz (6870) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:01PM (#8783848) Homepage
    Hey, I might get my first ever first po... BUFFERING.........
    • Re:FP (Score:2, Informative)

      Parent isn't offtopic. It was making a joke about real player.
    • You now, that always pisses me off when it does that. I wish NPR would allow us to just download a WAV file or something! Maybe there's some sort of copyright issues involved with just having a file for download.
      I have a dial-up and I don't like tying up my phone line for an hour or so to listen to a program that's not offered in my area (Science Friday) or to listen to a show I missed.
      Aside from the occasional show I listen to, Broadband still isn't worth it for me - just in case any of you were to sugge
      • Re:Buffering.... (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bilestoad (60385)
        Get Streambox VCR
        Get Streambox Ripper
        (you'll find both on P2P networks, although Real successfully sued to have both products crippled or killed)
        Download and convert to your favorite format
        Don't forget to share!
        • Re:Buffering.... (Score:3, Informative)

          by AxelBoldt (1490)
          mplayer -ao pcm followed by sox is also very nice for converting a given real audio stream to an .ogg. I like to do it in a cron script to time shift and archive my favorite radio shows.
  • by strictnein (318940) * <strictfoo-slashdotNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:01PM (#8783851) Homepage Journal
    Good. I hate Real Player. It's always been the most annoying player out there. Downloading a copy is a bitch (although they've made it somewhat easier recently), that Real Message Center is annoying as hell.
    The message here for Real should be really simple. Make your player as easy to get as possible. Require two clicks to download. Content is King. Annoying software is not. Give me a real reason to register. Look at how sites like slashdot and fileplanet work.
    • by Nebulo (29412)
      From a Mac perspective, the RealOne player is pretty darn good. It's small, attractive, and doesn't annoy with meaningless popups and advertising. I'm thrilled that CarTalk is switching back - their Windows Media files wouldn't even play last week.

      Eric in Seattle
      • I would venture to say that a lot of Public Radio listeners are Mac users. Wouldn't going with Windows Media format cut off all of those users?

        What generic format is cross platform friendly other than Real? Bear in mind that complete noobs have to be able to install it.
    • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:05PM (#8783913) Journal
      Real need to take a leaf out of Adobe's book. Look at the acrobat reader - it's free, easy, multi-platform and does what it is supposed to and nothing more
      • by tepples (727027) *

        Adobe Reader development is subsidized by sales of Adobe Acrobat software. RealPlayer seems to be subsidized by advertising sales. What business model would you suggest?

        • by sqlrob (173498) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:11PM (#8784012)
          What software is used to make the stream?
          • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @05:10PM (#8784831)
            The RealMedia server is avialable in a limited stream use as a free download. As far as propriatary streaming media goes, well, atleast they're cross platform. I agree that nothing beats a streaming ogg/mp3 site for radio/music/audible-content in general, but until business realize they won't get anymore screwed that route than another (as far as preserving IP rights) we won't really see adoption of these uncrippled standards. Besides you can always rip and convert a real stream, it is possible. I'd be sad to see Real go, you have to give them credit for being the first to give us streaming audio of any real quality, and other than there pushing sales attitudes toward their commerical alternatives to there software, I can't find much to fault them for.
        • by gcaseye6677 (694805) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:12PM (#8784021)
          How about subsidizing the free player with sales of the streaming server products? Oh wait, they already are, but they can't get enough people to buy their overpriced server offerings to make this work. As has been pointed out in previous Real Player discussions, the people at Real have no clue how to run a tech company and are dense as rocks when it comes to making good business decisions.
        • Sell the server-side software?

          Just a thought.
      • by MrChuck (14227) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:09PM (#8783973)
        Yeah, I dumped Real when it turns out that my illusions of privacy were clearly illusions.

        Windows? Nien, danke.

        Open Format with Open Tools and I'll be there.

        Stream it with multicast? Great, I'll be all over it.

        Sell my information to anyone with a quarter? Thanks Real, but no.

        • Stream it with multicast? Great, I'll be all over it.

          Multicast? Are you sure? For this to be advantageous, basically everyone has to watch the stream at the same time. To stream to different users at different times (which is usually the case) then you're basically talking about unicast again, which is the current model.

          Furthermore, a lot of network hardware doesn't handle multicast well. For example, the majority of network switches treat IP Multicast packets as broadcast, because they don't do IGMP sno

          • Multicast? Are you sure? For this to be advantageous, basically everyone has to watch the stream at the same time. To stream to different users at different times (which is usually the case) then you're basically talking about unicast again, which is the current model.

            For live broadcast audio, that's exactly what you want.
          • I've done this before in another thread, but...

            everyone has to watch the stream at the same time

            Or you can kick off a new stream every MINUTE and have 60 streams leaving your place (presuming there are listeners for each stream - if not, you only have $NumberListeners streams going out).

            So 60 streams of something popular where unicast would create, say, 1000 streams (one per user). Or more.

            a lot of network hardware doesn't handle multicast well

            Then it's broken. I don't have lots of sympathy for

    • by Liselle (684663) * <slashdot AT liselle DOT net> on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:08PM (#8783953) Journal
      They got the message on the download, anyway. I can get an .exe for the free version only two clicks from the front page.

      1. Big, orange "Download RealPlayer" button
      2. Little blue text link in the lower right

      Voila!
      • They got the message on the download, anyway. I can get an .exe for the free version only two clicks from the front page.

        They got the message on being an annoying and intrusive player too. RealPlayer 10, even the free version, has no ad popups, doesn't sit in your system tray, and spyware detectors say it's clean. From my initial glance over the preferences, all the "phone home" options are off by default too.

        I had to download it because of trouble I was having with Real Alternative and streaming settin
      • Meh. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by JMZero (449047)
        I can find it pretty easily, but I know what I'm looking for. I know that it's there. I know that I'm going to have to look for the right link. Most people don't have these advantages. It's the same story at DivX.com, or even QuickTime. There's people that believe they're watching movies illegally because they aren't using QuickTime Pro.

        But enough with them - Real has always been the worst offender here. And I'm not suggesting they're bad people, just stupid.

        Real could have been a contender, but the
    • Require two clicks to download

      Man they must have some people reading slashdot at this moment, because I went to count up the number of clicks it actually takes, and it was exactly 2 clicks to get the download started.
    • by hendridm (302246) * on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:33PM (#8784299) Homepage

      Linky: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/audiohelp.shtml?help [bbc.co.uk]

      You get an ad-free, nag-free, spyware-free version of Real Player, thanks to the good old BBC and their unique deal with Real.

      Because the BBC is publicly funded, it couldn't justify using a third-party app that pesters BBC licence fee payers for more money - so they threatened to pull out of the Real deal (pardon the pun) if real didn't offer a nag-free version of the player.

  • Real alternative (Score:5, Informative)

    by Patik (584959) * <cpatik AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:02PM (#8783863) Homepage Journal
    They should just put up a link to Real Alternative [hccnet.nl].

    It plays Real files, and if you download the K-Lite Mega Codec Pack, everything else too (Quicktime, Divx, Ogg, etc.).

    It also includes Media Player Classic, which is a very nice player that picks up where Windows Media Player 6 left off.

  • I think that the only real way for companies to go in this area is open source and open standards. Real makes its money through sales of its "professional" player, with features you can't get from the free player. But, if people are demanding free content without paying for a player, (how many people actually pay for it), they are going to look for free alternatives. Right now the only "free" alternative is Windows -- because the cost of developing the formats are built into the OS. However, if there we
    • Real makes its money through sales of its "professional" player, with features you can't get from the free player.

      I believe Real makes money from a superior streaming audio server software-suite.. The player is just milking the cow.

      But, if people are demanding free content without paying for a player, (how many people actually pay for it), they are going to look for free alternatives.

      A lot of people pay for it. They use it, and they are too stuck in the Microsoft-mantra that software costs money that
  • Rights preserved? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrChuck (14227) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:04PM (#8783894)
    You can should it from the roof or send it out on cassette tapes and your "rights are preserved".

    OGG/MP3 do not remove your rights. Lets me clear.

    That people copy (and it's easy with Real and WMP - play it out through line out and record it in whatever you wish) mp3/ogg does not affect "their rights"

  • I used to like real player, because it was the only program that would play the real audio clips that were on the internet. That was about 5 years ago. Now real player is bloated and full of extras that have little to do with streaming audio. When Real Networks launched their game service, it seemed they were trying anything to stay functioning as an 'internet' business.

  • by sxltrex (198448) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:04PM (#8783906)
    You besides having one of the most annoying install processes in the history of computers, hijacking functions the user had no intention of having Real handle, shoving registration down your throat with tons of opt-outs rather than opt-ins, having obtrusive background programs running even when you tell them not to...

    I think not being able to find the download link was the best part about it.
    • Yeah yeah yeah. Real sucked. We've all heard it, and we all know it.

      What is more interesting is the recent drive to improve their image by making their software less obnoxious. Has it worked? Have they improved. If so, isn't it better to congratulate them and talk them up a bit, thereby encouraging further moves towards being reputable instead of still treating them like a leper not much better than some sneaky ad-ware merchant (however deserved in the past).

    • by chickenmonger (614989) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:38PM (#8784377) Journal
      http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?threadid=683 99& [doom9.org]

      A senior engineer from Real explains how to get RealPlayer 10 to act nicely on one's system. I followed the instructions, and it works quite nicely. However, if one has Real Alternative installed previously, one has to remove it completely using instructions found further down the page.

    • No kidding! Real is some of the most annoying software in existence, which is why I don't feel sorry for them losing to Microsoft. I occasionally install Real, but always grudgingly. I'd prefer nearly any other format (even Quicktime with its kludgy installer and tendency to hijack).
  • by indros13 (531405) * on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:06PM (#8783924) Homepage Journal
    ...but it only takes two clicks from their homepage to get the free player download started. Click "download" and then the bold, text link "Download free player."

    I believe that it has been more complicated in the past, but it's not particularly difficult (unlike searching Slashdot for a particular story).

    The most pertinent point is the Real-NPR deal. If the clickthrough for public radio listeners is making a free download difficult, then NPR has a legitimate complaint. Their users want a convenient and inexpensive way to access content. If Real can't accomodate, then screw them.

  • Correct (Score:4, Interesting)

    by broothal (186066) <christian@fabel.dk> on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:07PM (#8783934) Homepage Journal
    Real is indeed its own worst enemy. The technology behind the product is great! But:

    The hiding of the free player

    The non-standard installer

    The annoying "messages" that cannot be turned off
    are all reasons why people don't use their product any more. If they woke up and smelled the coffee, they could easily win back market shares.

    • Real is indeed its own worst enemy. The technology behind the product is great! But: [...] The annoying "messages" that cannot be turned off

      It prompts to ask if you want these messages at install time now. The only messages it will then do are notices about software updates. You can go into the preferences and turn off the software update notifications and then (for Windows at least), it doesn't even run its scheduler task anymore, so it's absolutely not running until you launch it.

      It also doesn't have t

  • We've had the same discussion here at WBUR (Boston/Rhode Island public radio), and though we currently support Real Player, there is a debate on whether to drop it or not 'cause the damn download is so tough to... BUFFERING... find.

    We do also have Quicktime and WindowsMedia. Available here [wbur.org]. And we're the ones that originate Car Talk [cartalk.org], among others.

    -T

  • by SharpFang (651121) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:09PM (#8783981) Homepage Journal
    about video streaming, Real is about the best one can get. The quality is less than average, but it comes at ridiculously low amounts of bandwidth. A 1.5h show compressed to 100M, in quality that is still acceptable, full 15-min cartoons that fit in some 10M files, this is what I haven't seen elsewhere. I'd hate to see Real be gone.
    In the other hand, Real could go open-source with all their client software and provide their existing infrastructure to host some web TV and radio stations, for a fee. This could encourage many people to accept RealMedia as a standard, seriously extending Real's market share, while not killing their profit.
  • I've used a wide variety of windows streaming things, Windows Media Player, Real, Quicktime, MPEG through winamp, and I have to say I hate Real the most out of all of them. The player is filled with ads, it tries to load at startup even when you tell it not to, and the quality isn't that good. WMP is alright, but I hate to tie a stream down to one OS. I'd recommend a nice stream through the old mp3 codec. Every OS can read it, you can choose your player, and everyone is happy, except the big companies, and
  • MP4 (via quicktime) (Score:3, Interesting)

    by norwoodites (226775) <pinskia@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:10PM (#8783990) Journal
    What about some standards, MPEG 4 is very standarized and should be used. Quicktime plays it, IIRC Real also plays it so people have choices of what player they can use.
  • by BFaucet (635036)
    Real player is absolute crap IMHO. It's annoying to get, it blasts the user with ads and likes to annoy the user by sitting in the task bar, it's slow, bulky and has a horrible and intimidating interface. I liked Real Player's first interface (I'm assuming it was their first as I ran it on my 486.)
    Despite this, I don't think Real is going anywhere for a while... channels like 'em too much.

    I use Real Alternative [betanews.com] with media player classic now. So much better.
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:11PM (#8784004) Homepage
    Sorry but mp3 streams better and is widely accepted. hell windows 98 wil play a mp3 stream out of the box without extra software...

    and somepne please explain to me the justification of "preserving digital rights" on a freely downloaded mp3??? that's like a sales flyer maker getting pissed that someone is taking the flyer he made for a special sale and bitching that someone made 100 copies of his sales flyer and gave them to other people... What? you dont want free redistribution and promotion??? that is plain silly..
    shoutcast works great, and is damned cheap to host/ licensing fees....
  • A local community college wanted to broadcast their basketball games on the internet so parents in other states could listen. I recommended Shoutcast, as it works well with WinAmp. Both are free. Shoutcast runs on Linux, making the solution free (as in beer) for a community college (or NPR?) and winamp was a small and easy download for parents, with a direct link to the download page right on the college website. They took an old desktop and turned it into their shoutcast server. Very easy setup, worke
  • by Entropius (188861) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:12PM (#8784032)
    I prefer good old MP3 or OGG streaming like the feeds offered at WCPE but I'm sure no 'serious' company would consider it because they don't have their digital rights preserved."

    This argument is rubbish. Anything you can stream you can record (using Audacity or similar) and save; for that matter, anything broadcast over the airwaves you can record.

    Ultimately any form of broadcast/webcast can be converted to mp3/ogg with very little work. NPR should do everyone a service (that's why they're around, to do a public service) and just give us the mp3's/oggs.
  • by arkham6 (24514) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:13PM (#8784046)
    After hearing all the bad things about downloading real player, I decided just now to start the download process of the free version to see how bad the website actualy was.

    I went to the website and glanced around for about 5 seconds, then clicked the link that said download. The next page was slightly confusing for about three seconds, before i saw the segment that said 'download free version'. Clicked that, then started my download.

    No problem for me.
    • You Will (Score:4, Insightful)

      by blunte (183182) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:36PM (#8784340)
      Soon you'll start seeing Message Center popups. You'll get random notices that a new version of Real is available. You'll get spurious requests to register.

      Oh yeah, then go "uninstall" it. That will appear to remove it. Then later you'll get Message Center popups.

      Then go remove any reference to Real from HLMS\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run. You'll still periodically see crap.
    • by LS (57954)
      There are problems with your implied statement that getting the real player is not so difficult:

      1. You are a slashdot reader, not a typical user.
      2. You know that there is a free version of the player, and were specfically looking for it.

      All I know is that my 73 year old dad almost whipped out his credit card to watch a video someone sent him. Thankfully he called me first about it. Fuck Real.

      LS
  • If they didn't have their "free software" generate sales leads for them, then nobody would buy it.

    It's a kind of blackmail - "we are going to spam you until you buy from us" or "we are going to make it hard for you to download/use the free version - so you had better buy from us."

    I'm not saying it's ok. Like everything else nowadays "it's just business".

  • Real is a lot like a super-dense star: both will eventually suck so hard that they destroy everything around them immediately prior to collapsing into a blackhole from which no useful information can ever escape.
  • version 10 for OS X? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by trillian42 (674714)
    After reading some of the positive feedback on the newest Real free player in the last story about this (the Car Talk one), I decided to give it another shot. The last time I thought about installing Real's player (probably a year or two ago), the whole process was so obnoxious that I gave up long before finishing the installation.

    However, to the best of my ability to figure it out, the new, less-obnoxious Real player must not have been ported to OS X yet. The free player I downloaded was still as obnoxi
    • If you think the OS X version is obnoxious, you presumably haven't tried the Windows version.

      The Mac version is positively polite IMHO and lacks all the message centre horror.
  • Absolutely. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rick and Roll (672077) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:15PM (#8784067)
    It has long been said on /. that Real is its own worst enemy. And it is actually quite simple. Real's uprise has been when they had a good and decent product, and their downfall has been when they got greedy with advertising, and just began adding various features to their products (such as unrelated, but integrated features including a non-streaming media player, and download tools).

    Their product was good up to and including RealPlayer G2. But now it sucks. And their product sucking has nothing to do with Microsoft. It has to do with being managed by people who do not understand what the users want.

  • Not just that... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tailhook (98486) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:15PM (#8784069)
    It's not just the fact that they hide the "free" download version. Additional problems include;

    • Staggering bloat. That client is a mess of custom controls and bugs. At the moment, any attempt to use the menus causes a hard lockup of XP. Not just the client, the entire desktop.

    • An unwelcome background process that insists on reinstalling itself (on windows.) Amateur and petty. It makes me sick.

    • It's supposedly spyware. I don't know if this is the case, but there are rumors.


    The only reason I still suffer with RealPlayer in any form is MIT's OpenCourseware. The RealPlayer client has always been a PITA and Real has always been it's own worst enemy. They had more than half a decade of opportunity. Microsoft's Media Player has done nothing exceptional; just suck a lot less.
  • by JessLeah (625838) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:15PM (#8784080)
    This is RIDICULOUS! In one corner, we have Microsoft. 'Nuff said. In another, we have Apple-- QuickTime players for Mac OS/Mac OS X and Windows, and "grey market" potentially-DMCA-illegal playing via MPlayer. In another corner, we have Real, who SUCK in every way possible.

    And then, in the virtually ignored fourth corner, we have the stuff that isn't totally assraped by big (or not so big, in Real's case) corporations. MP3. Ogg. Freaking gzipped .AU for all I care. AND NO ONE USES ANY OF THIS STUFF.

    No, we have two choices: (1) Run Windows and/or Mac OS X and download some spyware-riddled bloatware from Apple, Real (ugh) or Microsoft (DOUBLE ugh), or (2) run any other OS and use a probably-illegal tool like MPlayer. (Oh, MPlayer isn't illegal, you say? Who the hell are you kidding? At the first nastygram from any big patent-wielding corporation, MPlayer's going bye-bye. As far as I'm concerned, thanks to our pal the DMCA, it's just another DeCSS waiting to happen.)

    This is FREAKING RIDICULOUS. Who benefits from any of this? It doesn't even seem as if MS and Apple benefit. Certainly, the "consumer" slash "end-user" slash "listener" doesn't.

    This is fucking asinine. I am getting truly disgusted by all of this ridiculous pushing of proprietary standards. SCREW THIS. What will happen in 20 years when someone needs to open a .wma file, but .wma has been extinct for a dozen years, and the only program that will open it will be Foobleblatz(R) AudioMasher Pro(TM), a pro-level audio editing tool "with support for over 500 current and previous codecs and encoding formats", for the equivalent of $999.95 2004 dollars?

    Audiovisual works are our cultural legacy. And we're blindly allowing corporations to seal up the standards used to encode these works to digital form. What the fuck is our problem? "Consumer groups" and publications like Consumer Reports should be screaming for open standards... but they don't even know or care what the problem is... Nor will they until around 2010 or so, when they try to play their old files and find that they can't...

    Imagine if Gutenberg's printing press was available only on license from Gutenberg Ltd., and that everything it printed used a special ink completely invisible unless you wear the patented Gutenberg Glasses(R), available for a MERE sum of 10 shillings. Think that sounds ridiculous? We're doing the very same thing today. Eventually, "dead tree" media will die, and the media used to replace it will be completely corporate-controlled, proprietary, and ... god, it's going to be a nightmare. The nightmare is already beginning, in fact...
    • by njdj (458173) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:33PM (#8784296)
      Oh, MPlayer isn't illegal, you say? Who the hell are you kidding? At the first nastygram from any big patent-wielding corporation, MPlayer's going bye-bye. As far as I'm concerned, thanks to our pal the DMCA, it's just another DeCSS waiting to happen.

      Just because the US legal system is owned by big corporations doesn't mean the rest of the planet is in the same mess as the US. I see no credible threat to my use of mplayer. I don't live in the US and I didn't download it from the US and for that matter, it wasn't developed in the US.

      The rest of your comments seemed sensible.
    • by Our Man In Redmond (63094) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:40PM (#8784398)
      At the first nastygram from any big patent-wielding corporation, MPlayer's going bye-bye. As far as I'm concerned, thanks to our pal the DMCA, it's just another DeCSS waiting to happen.

      Um, you do know that Mplayer is made by a merry band of coders from Hungary, don't you? They have a great deal less regard for US copyright concerns than Norway.

      I share some of your concerns but I don't think this is one we really need to worry about. In fact if by some perversion of nature, law and justice F/OSS were to be banned in this country it would move to places like Hungary and Taiwan, and flourish there. And yes, it would make criminals out of a lot of us.
  • Who do you hate more?

    I for one hate Real with a passion. I refuse to visit sites that have Real content. I'd rather deprive myself of watching it than sit through the pain of their terrible player.

    If there was a larger following providing content you could view in winamp, that would be my ideal, but for the time being, I'll use WMP.

    (Note: I realize I forgot to include the obligatory joke reference... I for one welcome our new video streaming overlords.)
  • Shoutcast is the way to go here. I believe it's what KCRW in Santa Monica uses. Mac and Windows users have dozens of choices that support it, notably iTunes and Winamp. Linux users have XMMS. I don't see the big dilemma here. I thought Shoutcast was free?

  • It's true, that second download page shouldn't be there (it should be one click download, quick install, and that's it).

    But, MPR has their own direct link to the RealPlayer download page (much like they gave cartalk.com earlier) http://www.real.com/freeplayer/?rppr=npr. It's partially their fault for not putting this out there better.
  • Although I understand the BBC had strong reasons to twist Real's arm in negotiations, I don't understand why MPR cannot wrangle something along the lines of BBC's relation to Real [bbc.co.uk]?

    Oh, wait. MPR pretty much does ...

    MPR Homepage [publicradio.org] > How To Listen [publicradio.org] > You can manually download the newest version here [real.com].

    Am I missing something?

    (Real seems to provoke the same thread topics on /. regardless of story context, it seems. This post is no different.)

  • In the bullet points on the right hand side of the page for the free player, after clicking the Download Player link on the main page, there are several bullet points. One of them reads: "- Best video and audio quality ever".

    Now, IANAAL (I am not an advertising lawyer) but I AM in advertising, and that claim seems somewhat dubious, and I'd love to see how they back it up. I know its nitpicking, but I can spare the attention for a company I hate so much, so if anybody can shed some light it would be apprec

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:19PM (#8784133) Homepage
    A lot of companies seem to feel that if people aren't listening to their advertisements, they should make their advertisements louder... if people aren't paying attention to their advertisements, they should make them more intrusive... if people aren't buying the upgrade, they should nag them oftener.

    When my son was three years old, he used to act the same way. If you didn't pay attention to him, he thought the answer was to yell. Or pester. Or throw a tantrum.

    My three-year-old was wrong.
  • by acroyear (5882) <jws-slashdot@javaclientcookbook.net> on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:19PM (#8784135) Homepage Journal
    I went to try to download a Flash plug-in from Macromedia for Mozilla (back before the plug-in auto-install stuff was standardized in 1.4), and found that the download page was, logically enough, a Flash animation that I couldn't actually view in order to get the plugin.
  • Real has sucked hard for years. I don't have it installed on my systems anymore, because it was just too loaded with negative crap to be useful. If a stream isn't available on QT or WiMP, I haven't bothered.

    So why the sudden rash of Real Player articles? Is it because of some recent change, or is it just because some /. editor got their panties in a bunch?

    Could it possibly be that Real actually *wants* marketshare, and has learned that pissing all over their user base is not the best way to do it?

    They ha
  • My first projects involved webdesign and heavy SMIL and Real Server developement related work. That's about 5 years ago. Even back then their site was the crappiest I could think of. It was a real bad PITA to reach usable information for _anything_ related to the real player or SMIL developement and it allways has been near to impossible to get a fresh realplayer within any resonable and sane amount of time. Surfing on their site for longer than a minute would cause noticable brain-cell rott and after 90 se
  • It's no surprise that the use of Realplayer has declined. As mentioned in the Wired article, Realplayer installs a lot of *additional* software onto your computer.

    We used to have a Apache proxy server running on campus that allows authenticated off-campus users access to on-campus electronic resources. When users have their proxy server settings set in their browser (IE) to point at our proxy server, installing Realplayer will take these settings and use it for itself. From looking at the Apache log, it

  • by pla (258480) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:31PM (#8784264) Journal
    I prefer good old MP3 or OGG streaming like the feeds offered at WCPE but I'm sure no 'serious' company would consider it because they don't have their digital rights preserved.

    Do a Google search for "Net Transport". Only runs on Windows, AFAIK, but it allows you to download almost all MMS (WM) and RTSP (Real) streams. Not exactly easy to use (unless you use MSIE, in which case it integrates seamlessly - But personally, I'd rather suffer through it's awkward interface than use MSIE), but it works.

    Also, you might want to look into Real Alternative and QuickTime Alternative. These don't always work, but when they do, you get to play the content through WMP classic (6.something), which doesn't disable the "save" option.

    Finally, for those difficult newer QuickTime streams, set your TMP and TEMP environment variables to a network share on a Linux box - Although Windows will lock the files so you can't copy them, Linux won't honor that lock (meaning, from a shell on the Linux box, you can just watch as the file appears, wait for it to finish, then copy it to "blah.mov" to keep a copy.


    And, AFAIK, none of these violate the DMCA. Simply by virtue of having the ability to play such files over the net, you already have "access" to them. This just enhances the flexibility of what you do with that access.


    Okay, I've shared my Tips of the Day... Now, anyone know a way to save RealOne streams? I have yet to find a way to do so...
  • by Logan_Fu (534139) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:36PM (#8784335)
    ...from the article:

    "Jeff Chasen, general manager of desktop players for RealNetworks, said the company has made "great strides" in redesigning the download page to make it easy for people to find what they want right away.

    "We're working on improving that page and working to get people what they want as much as possible," he said. "It's tricky. We have to offer both somehow."


    Here's how you do both, Jeff. Clearly label the free player. Clearly label the one that costs money. Let the user choose which one he wants.
  • by mttlg (174815) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:39PM (#8784381) Homepage Journal
    I wonder if they know how to take a hint over there...

    no@no.no already has an account.
    nono@no.no already has an account.
    nonono@no.no already has an account.
    nononono@no.no already has an account.
    no@no.no.no already has an account.
    nono@no.no.no already has an account.
    nonono@no.no.no already has an account.
    nononono@no.no.no already has an account.
    no.no@no.no already has an account.
    no.no.no@no.no already has an account.
  • Not flame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by H8X55 (650339) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `samoht.r.nosaj'> on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:49PM (#8784552) Homepage Journal
    As broadband becomes more prevalent the tech I.Q. of the average user drops. I really hate to blame the BOFFs (wait, no I don't!) but sometimes a little common sense and a little reading go a long way.

    Most folks don't read web pages anymore. They look at the bright and shiny widget graphics and click away, click click click until they are "Somewhere They Don't Want to Be" TM or can't figure out where they missed the boat. As it sits now, hit up real.com and you are literally two clicks away from downloading the free player. I think I installed it a few days ago before this news item hit, and believe it was three or four, but still no big deal. Now, had I not read the links I was clicking, or clicked blazing MEDIA PLAYER graphics that were on display I'm sure I would have gone down a more difficult path, and cause me many more clicks to get the free one.

    Remember, it's Real's right to sell their premium player. We don't have to like it, and we don't have to buy it. Frankly, I'm surprised they even still offer a free version. They can set their site up however they want to encourage downloaders to buy the premium player as opposed to the freebie. I've visited sites that offer free applications and have done a much better job of hiding the goodies behind the curtain than real.com.

    And to say they shouldn't sell their application at all and just subsidize it's expense off the greenbacks of the server side applications is just crazy. Even the free player is more than a simple "viewer" that other companies give away (Adobe, Crystal Reports, Microsoft). It's an actual full blown application. The premium player also offers content that costs money.
  • Installation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TeachingMachines (519187) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @04:51PM (#8784578) Homepage Journal

    I just downloaded and installed the "free" player... Wouldn't be surprised if they recently changed their site to make it easier to download the free version.
    The problem that I saw was that it tried to take over my machine:

    1. It wanted to change my registry defaults so that real would be the player for any and all media that I use (.mp3, .mpg, .wav, DVD, etc., etc.).
    2. It wanted to put icons everywhere (startup, taskbar, etc.)
    3. It asks for a bunch of personal information (WTF? Why do I need to give them that so that I can play their files? Should be illegal.)

    Any newbie would be too scared to not change all of their defaults, not put icons everywhere, and not give out their personal information. It doesn't matter if the "free" Real is now easier to install. The player takes advantage of the fact that most people don't understand that all of the above tasks are completely optional. The only free media player out there is MPlayer, and that's the one I'll be using from now on. Let me go and listen to my music in peace.

  • by Jeremi (14640) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @05:04PM (#8784775) Homepage
    At home I have an FM alarm clock radio tuned to NPR, with the headphone jack plugged in to my sound card's line-in jack. At the appropriate time, a scheduler program starts recording from the line-in jack and encoding to an mp3 file in my p2p client's "Shared files" folder. Thus every NPR program is available to me in mp3 format as soon as it goes out over the air. And they are worried about their digital media rights? The horse is out of the barn folks.... let it go.
  • by retro128 (318602) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @05:08PM (#8784810)
    I was just mulling over the thought of installing the new Real Player to see if they got over the insane tentacleware complex they seem to have given RP9. According to the reviews on download.com [com.com], apparently not. Looks like it'll continue to be Real Alternative [hccnet.nl] for me!
  • by LS (57954) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @05:08PM (#8784814) Homepage
    Please call or e-mail Minnesota Public Radio, and let them know why you think an open format should be used for streaming content. Here's some reasons I can think of:

    * It's pulbic radio, it's funded by taxpayers and supporters, so it's a public resource. All the content should be freely available using open standards

    * Open standards like MP3 are supported by the most applications

    * Open standards like MP3 are best supported across platforms

    * Free software can be used to implement streaming

    * They will support the good will of the technically astute in their audience, who are also a source of funding

    * Any other good ideas? Here's the contact info, from their web site [publicradio.org]:

    EMAIL
    mail@mpr.org

    TELEPHONE
    General Inquiries: 651-290-1212 or 800-228-7123
    An MPR Member/Listener Services associate will answer your call between 8:30 am and 5 pm CT Monday-Friday. Beyond those hours, you may leave a message and your call will be returned within two business days.

    MPR Newsroom line: 651-290-1424
    News releases may be faxed to the newsroom at 651-290-1295. News tips may be e-mailed to newsroom@mpr.org. E-mail addresses for individual reporters may be found on the newsroom look-up page.

    Midmorning or Midday call-in shows: 651-227-6000 or 800-242-2828
    We are not able to include emails to shows in progress. If you would like to leave comments for Midmorning, call 651-290-1171.

    MAIL
    MPR Member/Listener Services
    45 East Seventh Street
    Saint Paul, MN USA 55101

    MEDIA INQUIRIES
    Andrea Matthews, 651-290-1303 or amatthews@mpr.org
    Suzanne Perry, 651-290-1276 or sperry@mpr.org

    LS
  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @05:31PM (#8785137) Journal
    While we're at it, where is the download for a free version for Sun Solaris?

    The last one I was able to find was 6.0.4.216 (Beta), on their "community supported" subsection, which I installed in May of 1999.

    Darned thing doesn't support most of the stream casting sites these days, and even the workarounds that used to work (digging the URL out of the file droppings in /tmp and reentering it from a menu) usually don't work anymore.
  • by Compenguin (175952) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @05:49PM (#8785375)
    The pot calling the kettle black.

    I couldn't find the Linux download in the hastack for Windows Media or Quciktime. Real: 1, MS, Apple: 0.
  • direct link (Score:3, Informative)

    by rakerman (409507) on Tuesday April 06, 2004 @06:15PM (#8785671) Homepage Journal
    This "only 3425 clicks away from the home page" stuff is baloney. Why not use http://www.real.com/freeplayer/?rppr=slashdot [real.com] ?

"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all other causes combined." -- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_

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