Summary:

In a frenzy of CES related announcements, RealNetworks has made one thing clear: its either music, or the writing is on the wall…
Well, he…

In a frenzy of CES related announcements, RealNetworks has made one thing clear: its either music, or the writing is on the wall…

Well, here’re the main announcements:

– A new version of its media player, now re-dubbed RealPlayer10, going back to the name used before adopting the RealOne brand two years ago for its player and subscription services. (Hmm, did they listen to my advice about branding confusion…)..it will be able to play all major media formats, including Microsoft’s Media 9 Series and Apple’s QuickTime.

– A new download store that lets visitors buy tunes and full albums without the need for a subscription, something its Rhapsody offering doesn’t allow. As a launch promo, it is offering song downloads at 10 cents each for U.S. consumers who download the software within the next 10 days.

– Songs sold in the music store will be distributed in the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) format, an open MPEG standard, rather than a proprietary RealNetworks format. A new video format called RealVideo 10, which the company says improves the efficiency of past products by about 30 percent, is also part of Wednesday’s release.

– RealNetworks has struck a promotional campaign with Heineken…Between Memorial Day and July, more than seven million 12-packs of Heineken “Keg Can” beer will include coupons for two free RealPlayer Music downloads.

– Real is also announcing relationships with several handheld makers, in order for consumers to burn the music onto a handheld device. Handhelds include Zire 71 handheld and most Tungsten handhelds, and by the end of this month, the Treo 600 smartphone.

– RealNetworks has taken over operations of RollingStone.com, in a seven year licensing agreement with Wenner Media…Real will be integrating its music store into Rollingstone.com and vice versa…RNWK also gets exclusive online rights to Rolling Stone’s archive of music news and its collection of photos.

For more details read:

– Seattle Times: Music key to new RealNetworks strategy

Real offers new tech, song store

For more on CES coverage, read our dedicated news section

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