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Summary:

Real is announcing today a test version of its new RealPlayer, fully 2.5 years since the product’s last major update and well behind the explosion of web video. We give the company points for trying to add something different to all the other official options out […]

Real is announcing today a test version of its new RealPlayer, fully 2.5 years since the product’s last major update and well behind the explosion of web video. We give the company points for trying to add something different to all the other official options out there: a plug-in that helps you download streaming video from anywhere on the web.

The Windows-only (for now) plug-in detects a video on a page and offers the option to download it to a desktop video collection (screenshots below).

The idea is to enable convenient video collecting for enjoyment offline, in the living room, or anywhere else at the user’s convenience. What is lost is the context of a video on a page with the comments and links surrounding it. What’s gained is the opportunity to build a permanent web video library.

The product is free, and Real plans to make money by charging people to burn videos to DVDs (CDs are free). Beyond the RealVideo format, playback works for Windows Media, QuickTime, and most importantly Flash.

As for the obvious question — what about copyright and terms of use violations — Real says it will not download when a video site has wrapped protection around its content. In that case, the plug-in displays a message saying “the provider of this content does not allow downloading or recording.” This is not done through formal arrangements, but rather automatic detection.

In any other case, “When something is streaming it’s in the clear. It’s like TiVo,” Jeff Chasen, Real VP of RealPlayer and Horizontal Products told us.

The beta is to be available in mid-June, though Real promises it will set aside some pre-release accounts for NewTeeVee readers who leave their emails below. Get it fast — we wouldn’t rule out legal challenges in this product’s future!

Here’s a video demo from Andy Plesser at Beet.TV:

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  1. new RealPlayer pre-release account, please

  2. The Real Media format, for personal encoding uses, at least, is my preferred: Small, with good quality…

    I’d like to test the pre-release new player version…

  3. Real Player somehow seems to sneak onto my computer every few months, then throw up “helpful” updates until I get round to uninstalling it.

    I look forward to a new era of moderately intrusive video pop ups from the moderately intrusive folks at Real.

  4. I’d like to try out the beta…
    Thanks NewTeeVee !

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  6. Please may i have an invite

    steve at ohear.net

  7. Jackson West Thursday, May 31, 2007

    Will I have to admit I now avoid RealMedia like the plague, there was a time when they had what was, to a geeky kid at film school, some of the most exciting technology I’d ever seen. I have to give them credit for getting me into web video distribution when I was yet a wee tot.

  8. The content providers or video sites could always opt to use flash protection services like http://www.enscramble.com that would effectively limit their exposure.

  9. I would love to try the new real player. Thank you.

    impreza@gmail.com

  10. GigaOM Real makes web videos downloadable… its cool « Thursday, May 31, 2007

    [...] links surrounding it. What’s gained is the opportunity to build a permanent web video library. Continue Reading on NewTeeVee Share This | Sphere | Print | Topic: Asides [...]

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