Real adds MPEG-4 support, looks to mobile phones

With its streaming-media eye focused on mobile devices, RealNetworks Inc. Monday announced it would add support for the MPEG-4 audio and video compression format to its media players, and also said it would join the Third Generation Partnership Program (3GPP), a standards body for mobile devices.

The support for MPEG-4, a relative of the widely popular MP3 (MPEG-1, Layer-3) format, will come via plug-ins supplied by MPEG-4 software company Envivio.com for the RealPlayer, RealOne Player and RealSystem Server products, Envivio said. The Envivio plug-ins are available immediately through Real's automatic software update feature, the company said. In addition, Real said in a statement that it would add support for MPEG-4 in the next version of its RealSystem iQ media creation and delivery product.

MPEG-4 is a multimedia standard designed for the quality and compression of audio and video files for both computers and mobile devices, including phones. The standard was created by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG), which also created the MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 standards for video CD and digital television. MP3 is a component of the MPEG-1 standard.

Real also announced Monday that it had gained full voting membership in the 3GPP and that it has joined SA4, a standards group concerned with delivering multimedia over packet-switched networks like the Internet. Through its membership in the two groups, Real will work to develop standards to use in the delivery of multimedia content to mobile devices, the company said in a statement.

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