RealPlayer 7.0

RealNetworks offers two versions of the player, Basic and Plus. Available for free download, RealPlayer 7 Basic is further broken into three options: Complete, Standard and Minimal. We downloaded the 3.4MB Minimal version, aptly named because it's designed to get you going with the bare minimum for playing streaming audio and video: support for RealAudio, MP3, and RealVideo files, plus a rudimentary help file.

The 7MB Standard version adds support for other popular media formats (including .wav, .au, .aiff, .avi, .mov and MPEG) and integrates RealJukebox, which optimises your player for downloading and playing music from the Web. The 7.4MB Complete version offers support for additional, less commonly used file formats. For $US30, the Plus version (available for purchase via RealNetworks' Web site) adds a 10-band graphic equaliser, video playback controls, additional live radio stations, and other high-end features.

RealPlayer 7 is still in beta; the final version is expected to arrive in the first quarter of 2000.

For your viewing pleasure

There are several useful new features in RealPlayer 7. The redesigned player features a streamlined interface that facilitates accessing Real media content, no matter where it's housed on the Web. The first thing you'll notice is the addition of a browser-like location bar that lets you input URLs and go directly to RealAudio and RealVideo content on the Web. The bar also pulls down to show your past content and media visits, so you can go backward and forward without having to search manually for previously visited sites. RealNetworks also corrects a long-standing oversight: the player window can now be resized manually.

In keeping with the "content is king" approach of this version, Real includes a button for automatic access to the newly launched Take5 showcase, RealNetworks' daily take on the Web's top five streaming media elements, culled from various Web content partners.

Staying on top of breaking news is also easy: simply configure the player to alert you when new content is available via RealNetworks' portal site (separate from Take5, but also located at www.real.com). When new content is added to the site, you'll see a small star on the Real icon in your Windows system tray. In addition to Take5 there are over 100 customisable audio-visual channels accessible directly from RealPlayer 7.

Audio hasn't been neglected in this upgrade. MP3 playback is improved to provide support for streaming and variable bit-rate MP3 files. And the new LiveStations radio feature expands upon RealNetworks' preset radio stations of the past. You get instant access to more than 100 stations, and the station list, housed on RealNetworks' servers, is continually updated. You can search for radio stations based upon a station's properties, country of origin, or genre (there are 11 in all, encompassing everything from alternative and jazz to pop, rock and talk).

Performance issues have also been addressed. RealNetworks claims RealPlayer 7.0 is up to 40 per cent faster than previous versions, an improvement users of past versions will appreciate; individual results will vary depending upon your Internet connection and your PC. After putting the player through its paces, we'd agree that there's a discernible difference in sound quality. There was also a noticeable drop in video stream freezes, even when used over a 28.8Kbps dial-up connection. Radio stations sound almost as good as they do on a medium-quality stereo, and static has been nearly eliminated.

Once you have a Web utility, it's hard to justify downloading the many updates that come along. But RealPlayer 7.0 is one update well worth its download time.

RealPlayer 7

Price: free or $US30 for the Plus versionDistributor: RealNetworksURL: www.real.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Karen J. Bannan

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?