RealNetworks, Inc. is a provider of
Internet streaming media delivery
software and services based in Seattle, Washington, United States. The
company also provides subscription-based online entertainment services
and mobile entertainment and messaging services.
3 Products and services
3.1 Subscription services
3.3 Real Alternative
3.4 RealTimes (formerly
3.7 Other products and technologies
4 See also
6 External links
RealNetworks (then known as Progressive Networks) was founded in 1994
by an ex-
Rob Glaser and a management team
including Phil Barrett, Andy Sharpless, and Stephen Buerkle. 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 are pioneers in the streaming media markets and broadcast
one of the earlier audio events over the Internet — a baseball
game between the
New York Yankees
New York Yankees and
Seattle Mariners — on
September 5, 1995. They announced streaming video technology in 1997.
According to some accounts,[which?] by 2000, more than 85% of
streaming content on the
Internet was in the Real format.
Despite this success, problems arose because Real's primary business
model depended upon the sale of streaming media server software, and
Microsoft and Apple were giving those products away. As servers from
Microsoft and Apple became more capable, Real's server sales
On January 20, 2000, RealNetworks, Inc. filed an injunction against
Streambox, Inc. regarding the aforementioned company's product
designed to convert Real Audio (.rm) formatted files to other
formats. On December 4, 2001, the company was to launch the first
coordinated effort to sell and deliver music from major record labels
over the Internet, part of a broader initiative by the company to
Internet services aimed at Web users with fast
Internet connections. In 2002, a strategic alliance was formed
Sony Corporation to expand collaboration.
In October, 2005,
Microsoft agreed to pay
RealNetworks $460 million to
settle an antitrust lawsuit.
In August 2003,
RealNetworks acquired Listen.com's Rhapsody music
service, and renamed it RealRhapsody. It offered streaming music
downloads for a monthly fee. In January 2004,
RealPlayer Music Store, featuring digital rights management (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
Windows Media Audio
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
On April 6, 2010, Rhapsody was spun off from RealNetworks.[citation
In July 2013,
Slingo for $15.6 million. The
company introduced a mobile phone app called Listen in April 2014 that
plays custom ringtones to those calling the user's phone.
RealNetworks has its headquarters in Seattle, Washington in the Home
Plate Center building in SoDo across from Safeco Field, sharing the
King5 and Logic 20/20 Consulting.
Products and 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 monthly
$10 fee. More content was added through deals with
CBS for the
reality show Big Brother and NBA basketball.
After the dot-com bubble,
RealNetworks cut most of the resources. Some
of the content was lost, some were limited to local markets, e.g.,
Ministry of Sound
Ministry of Sound was available only to UK subscribers. With the
increase in broadband usage,
RealNetworks started offering live
broadcasts of CNN International, BBC World, Al-Jazeera etc.,
separately for prices between $6 and $12, or bundled in the SuperPass
for about $35 a month depending on the market. Between 2003 and 2006,
SuperPass included, for European subscribers, unlimited access to UEFA
Champions League full-length game recordings.
On September 30, 2008,
RealNetworks launched a new product called
RealDVD. The software allows any user to save a copy of a DVD movie
they own. The company was later found to have violated the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act and RealNetworks' contract with the DVD Copy
Control Association, as the software also allowed anyone to save a
movie they do not legally own. (See RealNetworks, Inc. v. DVD Copy
Control Ass'n, Inc.). The product's distribution was barred by a
Real Alternative is a discontinued software bundle that allows users
RealMedia files without installing RealPlayer. The
last version, 2.02, was released on February 19, 2010. It included
Media Player Classic.
Beginning in 2010,
RealNetworks sued Hilbrand Edskes, a 26-year-old
Dutch webmaster for having inserted hyperlinks to Real Alternative on
his site www.codecpack.nl.
RealNetworks alleges that Real Alternative
is a reverse engineered package. Meanwhile, Download.com and
FileHippo continue to host the software product, unchallenged.
In November 2011 RealNetworks' case against Edskes was dismissed and
RealNetworks was ordered to pay him €48,000 in damages.
Details of the case and judgement have been published.
RealNetworks in September 2013 launched
RealPlayer Cloud, a service
that adds the ability to share videos recorded on smartphones and
RealPlayer Cloud ties into the existing RealPlayer, however
it also has a Web app and apps for Android, iOS and Roku. The service
has 2GB of free cloud storage and more storage for a monthly fee.
It was renamed to RealTimes in May 2015, with a new focus on creating
and sharing "Stories"—video collages of users' personal photos and
videos, set to background music.
Main article: Helix (multimedia project)
Helix is a suite of streaming media software and services intended for
digital TV set-top boxes, mobile devices, as well as QuickTime, Flash
and other programs. It includes the Helix open-source code
and the Helix Universal Server, which hosts, distributes and manages
digital rights for multimedia content. Helix competes with the
Windows Media 9 Series from Microsoft, but has a greater emphasis on
open-source. Helix was announced in July 2002. Support for
mobile devices was added in November 2005. It was discontinued in
Main article: GameHouse
RealNetworks entered the gaming market in October 2001 with
RealArcade, a PC game distribution application that allows users to
play casual video games for free for 60 minutes, then decide if they
want to purchase it. Many of the games were developed by
RealNetworks acquired for $35.6 million in 2004.
RealNetworks re-launched its gaming division under the name
Gamehouse. It began focusing on social games, such as Facebook
apps, and in 2013 acquired casual casino games company, Slingo,
for $15.6 million.
Other products and technologies
RealAudio, a compressed audio format
RealDownloader, a download manager
RealPlayer, a media player
RealVideo, a compressed video format
Rinse, a digital music library cleanup tool
Unifi, a personal cloud media service
Mobile entertainment and messaging services for mobile carriers
United States v. ASCAP
^ Kerr, Dave (July 30, 2014). "
Rob Glaser its
permanent CEO". CNET. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
^ a b "RealNetworks, Inc. 2014 Annual Report on Form 10-K" (PDF).
RealNetworks. p. 18. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
^ "Company Profile for
RealNetworks Inc. (RNWK)". Retrieved
RealNetworks Inc". Funding Universe. Retrieved 2011-07-23.
^ "The History & Future of Real Networks".
Magazine. Retrieved 2011-07-23.
^ (January 18, 2000) Real Networks, Inc. v. Streambox, Inc. Case
Summary, Retrieved on 2009-08-02
^ "Realnetworks is set to launch music service".
RealNetworks Form Tech Alliance". May 1, 2002. Retrieved July
^ Montalbano, Elizabeth. "Microsoft,
RealNetworks Settle for $761
Million", PC World, October 11, 2005. Retrieved on June 29, 2012.
^ Real.com attracts 67 million visitors annually
RealNetworks Acquires Slingo". RTTNews. July 31, 2013. Retrieved
August 2, 2013.
^ Moscaritolo, Angela (April 10, 2014). "Ringback Tones Return on
RealNetworks 'Listen' App". PC Magazine. Retrieved May 19, 2015.
^ John Cook (May 6, 2013). "
RealNetworks returns to roots, plans move
to smaller offices near Safeco Field". GeekWire.
^ Remy Mooney (June 5, 2013). "
RealNetworks Leases 85,000 SF in the
Home Plate Center in Seattle".
^ Kieskowski, Ellie (August 15, 2000). "
Subscription Service". Streamingmedia.com. Retrieved 2014-01-03.
^ The New York Times (October 1, 2008) Studios sue to bar a DVD
copying program, Retrieved on 2009-08-02
^ Hachman, Mark (August 11, 2009). "
RealNetworks Loses DVD Copying
Decision". PC Magazine. Retrieved August 12, 2009.
^ Stone, Brad (August 11, 2009). "
RealNetworks Barred From Selling DVD
Copy Maker". Bits. The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-12.
^ a b "Real Alternative 2.02". FileHippo. Retrieved August 29,
^ a b "Real Alternative". Download.com.
CBS Interactive. October 9,
2009. Retrieved August 29, 2011.
^ "Real Alternative 2.02 - Technical details". FileHippo. February 20,
2010. Retrieved August 29, 2011.
^ "Real Alternative 2.0.2". Free-Codecs.com. February 19, 2010.
Retrieved August 29, 2011.
^ De Winter, Brenno (August 25, 2011). "
RealNetworks crushes Dutch
webmaster for hyperlink". PC Advisor. IDG. Retrieved August 29,
^ Masnick, Mike (August 26, 2011). "
RealNetworks Destroying Dutch
Webmaster's Life Because He Linked To A Reverse Engineered
Alternative". TechDirt. Retrieved August 29, 2011.
^ de Winter, Brenno (November 7, 2011). "
RealNetworks gaat door met
rechtszaak om hyperlink". WebWerld (Dutch language). Retrieved
December 9, 2011.
^ Collin, Branko (November 6, 2011). "
Internet thugs Realnetworks lose
case against Hilbrand Edskes". 24Oranges. Retrieved December 9,
^ "LJN: BU3223, Rechtbank 's-Gravenhage , 363011 / HA ZA 10-1233". de
Rechtspraak (Dutch language). November 4, 2011. Retrieved December 10,
^ "With its new cloud player,
RealNetworks is trying the next big
turnaround — Tech News and Analysis". Gigaom.com. September 24,
2013. Retrieved 2013-12-10.
^ Ozer, Jan (November 2012). "A closer look at streaming servers".
Sound & Video Contractor. access-date= requires url=
^ a b c Applebaum, Simon (July 28, 2002). "
RealNetworks Is Streaming
Microsoft Tide". Multichannel News. Retrieved August 27,
^ a b c Kerschbaumer, Ken (July 28, 2002). "
Helix". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
RealNetworks Upgrades Helix To Support Wireless Networks".
InformationWeek. November 16, 2005. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
^ Dreier, Troy (October 31, 2014). "
RealNetworks Discontinues Helix
Media Delivery Suite of Products". Streaming Media. Retrieved June 29,
^ Richman, Dan (January 26, 2004). "
RealNetworks to buy game developer
Seattle Post. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
^ Haley, Colin (October 11, 2001). "
RealNetworks Launches Streaming
Video Game Service". InternetNews. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
^ Evers, Joris (January 26, 2004). "
RealNetworks Acquires GameHouse".
PCWorld. IDG News Service. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
^ Pham, Alex (May 4, 2010). "
RealNetworks renovates its GameHouse
business to be more social". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 28,
^ Takahashi, Dean (September 22, 2011). "Real Networks' GameHouse
makes its run at social gaming". VentureBeat. Retrieved August 28,
^ Takahashi, Dean (July 31, 2013). "
$15.6M as it doubles down on social casino games".
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