RealNetworks announced a new version of its RealPlayer media player software. Its makers claim RealPlayer 11 will be the first media player to offer one-click video downloads of embedded web-based content. The online player will also support rival formats Flash and QuickTime.
The concept capitalises on the popularity of online video sites such as YouTube. Rob Glaser, chairman and CEO of Real, said, "The new player gives consumers more control of internet video. By floating a 'Download this video' button next to video seen on thousands of websites, RealPlayer makes it one-click simple."
Until now, online video content has primarily been limited to streaming. Real isn't the first company to enable video downloads, but it hopes the straightforward 'Download this' approach will quickly catch on. Customers of Apple's iTunes can already download video clips and video podcasts for free.
RealPlayer 11 enables users to watch videos, burn them to DVD and CD and share them easily. As well as downloading online video, users will be able to send links to friends.
Available later this month, a beta version of RealPlayer 11 will be downloadable for free from RealPlayer.com.
Future versions of RealPlayer, currently in development, will enable users to transfer downloaded video content to a personal media player. At present, grabbing online video content for playback on a portable device requires the portable device to have specific video codecs or third-party transcoding software.