Skip to main content

Simplify streaming

RealNetworks today is expected to unveil RealOne, a streaming-media player, platform and service that the company says will afford new opportunities for streaming-content providers and improved performance to consumers.

The most noticeable change to consumers is that the interface is less crowded than that of the Jukebox or even RealPlayer 8.

"There was this mindset in terms of user-interface design that, if it weren't at the top level of the interface, it wouldn't be used, and no one would see it," says General Manager, Consumer Products, Steve Banfield. "The problem is, if everything is top priority, nothing is top priority."

From a design standpoint, the goal of RealOne is to give the content provider greater control of the interface. For example, under the current RealPlayer 8 interface, the window is surrounded by buttons that access content unrelated to the content displayed.

RealOne, on the other hand, offers a platform on which the viewer can watch the video and have HTML-based content related to it located next to the window. An Internet-browser window is located below the window, offering content providers the opportunity to create a Web environment optimized for the new platform. Or users can access current Web pages.

New authoring capabilities include RN SMIL extensions for the context window, Javascript extension for the media browser and ActiveX, SMIL 2.0 support, and nested Metafiles.

Another improvement to the platform is that the new player requires less memory on the consumer's PC. As a result, it can be used more easily by a PC user who wants to access video and audio content while word processing or using other programs.

"If we want media to be a primary part of someone's computing experience, it can't be the singular experience they're having on the PC while they're using it," says Banfield. "PCs are designed to be multiuse devices, so we spent a lot of time making sure we provided enough horsepower."

The new system also offers improved video and audio performance, he says.