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Can Real Stage a Comeback?

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Real Networks (RNWK), the company that was one of the first companies to bet on streaming media (first audio and then video) recently released a new player, adding click-and-save web video feature. The company executives, while not being explicit, seemed pretty bullish about their prospects.

Could this be the start of a comeback for the company, which inspires emotional (mostly negative) reactions from computer users?

Their software’s nagging ability to embed its hooks into a PC’s every nook and canny was one of the reasons I gave up on the company, and decided to forego all the content that ran on Real format, happy to use Windows Media Player instead.

But that might be changing. I have been using the software for a couple of days, and it seems like it is time to give them a second chance. The company has stripped out most of the crap from their software, and the download button is becoming an addiction. Being time starved, it is easier to download and save the videos, so that I can watch them at a more convenient time.

By turning a blind eye to the legality of the software, some of the premium content available on the web is helping me live the no-old-TV life. Apparently, I am not the only one who feels that way. Michael Wolf, who is an analyst with ABI Research, also feels Real is ready for a comeback on the desktop.

“What they have done is create an app that actually fills a need (including DVD burning in their premium version),” he writes. He also points out that DRM is going to play party pooper and we should expect some kind of DRM built into web videos as well.

3 Responses to “Can Real Stage a Comeback?”

  1. No. The company is repeating the fatal error of ignoring the interests of rights-holders. Plus, encoding technologies have already been developed to “protect” from unauthorized download. See

    Those of us that wish to distribute our media through a download model have many consumer-friendly tools to facilitate the process.