Compaq to load RealOne player on consumer PCs

RealNetworks Inc.'s RealOne Player will become the default media player on Compaq Computer Corp.'s Presario line of consumer PCs, the companies said Wednesday.

Compaq will also try to sell RealNetworks' recently launched paid membership services, RealOne Membership and RealOne Music, to buyers and current owners of Presario desktops and laptops, the companies said in a joint statement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

RealNetworks' products will be promoted with an icon on the Presario desktop, a special key on the Compaq Internet Keyboard, and other promotional vehicles, the companies said.

The software, which competes with Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Media Player, will be the default software to access online broadcasts as well as for MP3 and CD playback. RealOne Player can also be used to burn CDs, download digital media files, and transfer tracks to a portable device such as an MP3 player.

RealOne Membership service gives access to sports, entertainment, news and other content for US$9.95 a month, while RealOne Music, a front for the MusicNet service, offers 100 music downloads and 100 music streams also for $9.95 a month.

Compaq will start shipping PCs with RealOne Player when the final version of the software is released, expected to be in the first half of next year. Until then, from early next year, all Presario PCs will come with RealPlayer and RealJukebox, the RealOne predecessors, the companies said.

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