TMO Scoop - RealPlayer 10 for Mac OS X to Debut Next Week

by , 7:00 AM EDT, June 24th, 2004

RealNetworks will announce next week the much anticipated upgrade to RealPlayer for OS X with a multitude of new features including an integrated Web browser, Rendezvous support and QuickTime playback at full screen, The Mac Observer has learned exclusively.

RealPlayer 10 for Mac OS X

RealPlayer 10 for Mac OS X incorporates many of the same features found on Apple's QuickTime and QuickTime Pro 6.5 multimedia players as well as Real's Windows version of RealPlayer 10, but adds a large number of new features and advantages. Among them include:

"This product has some real advantages and is a big improvement," Jupiter Research Senior Analyst Joe Wilcox told The Mac Observer. "This update is as close to feature parity as I've seen with the Mac and Windows versions of RealPlayer."

Mr. Wilcox believes the key difference between the older version of the RealPlayer for Mac as well as the Windows version is the Safari-based integrated browser.

The new RealPlayer 10 for Mac OS X includes
an integrated Web browser to enhance Real's content.
(Click the thumbnail for a larger image.)

"The RealPlayer on Windows heavily relies on browser code for the interface," he said. "In fact, many of the other media players on the Windows platform, including Napster and MusicMatch, use HTML code. But because Real used Apple's Safari engine, we're able to see more feature and design parity in RealPlayer 10 for Mac OS X."

Much like Apple's integration of a Web browser into iTunes, Mr. Wilcox noted Real's addition of a Web browser in RealPlayer 10 as another example of a long time demand from Mac developers wishing to enhance their applications and multimedia online content.

"RealPlayer 10 has a huge advantage over Windows with many of its new features," Mr. Wilcox commented. "For instance, Real is charging extra for an equalizer in the Windows version when it's included in the Mac version for free. Also, the interface and preferences are much more Mac-like than any previous version.

The equalizer is a prime example of one feature Apple charges extra for and is only available in its pro version of QuickTime for an additional US$29.99.

An equalizer is included with the new RealPlayer which QuickTime users must pay extra for.

"Real is really setting a standard for Macintosh development with this product. They're making better use of the platform and the tools Apple has provided," he said.

Mr. Wilcox believes the new RealPlayer update is a clear sign of a development trend on the Mac that more and more developers will hopefully take advantage of.

The new player has limited support for Real's digital rights management (DRM) technology, known as Helix. As previously reported by TMO, Real has not yet decided if it will add Mac support for its new online movie download service, Starz! Ticket on Real Movies. If it does decide to include Mac users in the service, Real would probably use its DRM as the engine to service Mac users.

RealPlayer 10 for Mac OS X will be a free product. It will require Mac OS X 10.2 or later with Safari installed and a minimum of 256MB of memory. The company is recommending 512MB of RAM.

When contacted for confirmation for this report, a RealNetworks spokesperson refused comment.