Blog Post

Real Makes Its Video Move: Downloads

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:

38 Responses to “Real Makes Its Video Move: Downloads”

  1. One other thought… The best thing Real could do is to use their tremendous bandwidth and worldwide audience to jump start their own free hd video hosting site…. The sooner they wake up and realize that this all about staking out video channel viewers, the better off their stockholders will be…they need to become RealTV and not just Real TiVo

  2. Amen to that markus. Thankfully I am on a mac which means i don’t have to deal with Real. In fact stopped listening to streaming music in real and windows formats all together.

    Now their Real Rhapsody on Sonos – that’s sweet.

  3. markus

    I’d rather let a cabal of Russian hackers unlimited access to my computer then the scumbags at Real Networks.

    Thanks god, this desperate move signals the begging of the end of Real.

    “…And there was much rejoicing”

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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…