My life is too busy. I’m falling behind the times. I honestly thought that RealNetworks RealPlayer was dead, belly up, kicked the bucket. Imagine my surprise when RealPlayer 11.1 shows up. I must have missed versions 9, 10, and, obviously 11. Worse, I do not remember the last time I visited a web site that streamed Real Audio.
In the age of streaming audio and video and H.264 video and YourTube and MP3s and AAC audio files, what good is RealPlayer for a Mac user? If the player is free then how does RealNetwork extract money from Mac users? Should you use RealPlayer on your Mac? Inquiring minds want to know.
If you already thought there were more than enough ways to play audio and video files on your Mac, then you’re in the vast majority of Mac users.
The reason we get spam in our email is because there are still computer users who do the wrong thing. That must be why RealPlayer continues to exist.
New products tend to do a few things well. Mature products tend to tack on feature after feature amid new and innovative ways to extract money from users. RealPlayer is a mature product; an audio and video solution looking for a problem to solve.
What does RealPlayer do that your Mac doesn’t already do with iTunes and QuickTime Player? It gets interesting. Read on, dear Mac lover. Read on.
High on the list of RealPlayer’s worthiness is the ability to play QuickTime files. Won’t your Mac do that already? Yes, but the RealPlayer interface is less spartan, more akin to the busyness of Windows’ look and feel.
In addition to playing files your Mac already plays, RealPlayer has advanced video controls so you can customize your video experience by changing contrast, sharpness, hue, and brightness. Technology is so exciting, isn’t it?
RealPlayer also lets you download videos from the web and play them back on your Mac. Wait. There’s more. Subscribe to SuperPass and get MP3 music downloads for your iPod. Watch Big Brother live video feeds. Tune in to over 3,000 online radio stations (some of them without commercials).
Did you know you could listen to radio on the internet? RealPlayer touts the ability to play near DVD-quality video files. They’re crisp. They’re clean. They’re costly.
RealNetworks is a for profit company so they build in ways to make money with their technology. That’s where SuperPass comes in and subtlety goes out the window.
Point your Mac browser to the Real web site and you’re treated to a button to download RealPlayer and an invitation to try SuperPass for free (a 14 day free trial). It’s always nice to try before you buy. Click on the Learn More About SuperPass button and you get a repeat of what you just read.
Mac users are not Windows users. We pay attention to details. Above all else, Real wants you to click the big yellow orange Try SuperPass Free button, rather than give you information about it up front.
Click the Try SuperPass Free button and it’s time to cough up and help support the economy by turning loose some of your hard earned cash before you realize what has happened. Just like FreeCreditReport.com.
Start by entering an email address and password. Then fill out all the basic information to start your trial, starting with your name, credit card information, and so on. Once you’re done, you’re in the system and privileged to use SuperPass to do what you already do using QuickTime Player and iTunes. But for more money.
Since the RealAudio audio file format doesn’t show up on web sites too often in the 21st century, what else can RealPlayer do? Tucked away at the top of the Real site is a button to download the free version of the player.
Having been castigated by users and critics through the years for near-deceptive practices and burying the free player deep in their web site, Real seems to be disinfecting itself with sunlight. RealPlayer 11 is a free download. And, Y“ou will not be charged for downloading this software.” And, ‘We will remind you to spend money with us anyway.’
Still, the RealPlayer is good for downloading web video files with a click; not an easy function using QuickTime Player. Real makes it easy to share video links and view video in a full-screen theater mode.
If you like to tweak, RealPlayer also has an audio graphic equalizer built in. And whatever your QuickTime Player plays, RealPlayer plays. I like the LivePause feature (like the new iPod nano). I like the fact that it also plays Flash and Windows Media files. RealPlayer 11 is the most Mac-like version ever. And it’s free. Why? Because the worm on the hook is free to the fish, too.