RealNetworks

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RealNetworks is a provider of Internet media delivery software and services based in Seattle, Washington, United States. The company is the creator of RealAudio, a compressed audio format, RealVideo, a compressed video format and RealPlayer, a media player. The company also manages subscription-based online entertainment services including Rhapsody, SuperPass, and RealArcade.

Contents

History

RealNetworks (then known as Progressive Networks) was founded by ex-Microsoft executive Rob Glaser in 1995. The original goal of the company was to provide a distribution channel for politically progressive content. It evolved into a technology venture to leverage the Internet as an alternative distribution medium for audio broadcasts. Progressive Networks became RealNetworks in September 1997.

Music store

In August 2003, RealNetworks acquired Listen.com's Rhapsody music service, and renamed it RealRhapsody (which includes Rhapsody Radish). It offers streaming music downloads for a monthly fee. In January 2004, RealNetworks announced that they are creating RealPlayer Music Store, featuring DRM-restricted music in the AAC file format. After some initial tries to push their own DRM scheme (named Helix DRM) onto all device manufacturers with the Creative Zen Xtra and the Sansa e200r as the only existing compliant devices, they sparked controversy by introducing a technology called Harmony that allowed their music to play on iPods as well as Microsoft Windows Media Audio DRM-equipped devices using a "wrapper" that would convert Helix DRM into the two other target DRM schemes.

The domain real.com attracted at least 67 million visitors annually by 2008 according to a Compete.com study.[2]

Subscription services

In 2000, one of the initial products, the download manager RealDownload, was already used for pushing small software, such as games, to subscribers' computers. On top of the subscription for RealDownload and using its RealVideo streaming technology, a service called GoldPass, including unlimited access for video snippets from ABC and movie previews, was offered to registered users for a $10 a month fee. [3]. More content was added through deals with CBS for the reality show Big Brother and NBA basketball.

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