Under the terms of the deal, Real Networks has built support for Sony's ATRAC3 (Adaptive Transform Acoustic Coding) audio compression system and Open Magic Gate (OpenMG) copy protection system into new versions of its Real Player player software. In return, Sony will install the software on its Vaio range of personal computers and bundle it with digital music players.
The deal goes a long way to getting support for the ATRAC3 system into the mass marketplace. ATRAC was originally developed by Sony for use in the MiniDisc (MD) system, which is very popular in Japan although failed to catch on in a big way overseas. The system has been employed by Sony in several products since the MD launch and further refined to compress music better.
The latest version, ATRAC3, has double the compression of the original version and is the system used in Sony's portable digital music players such as the VAIO Music Clip. in combination with OpenMG copy protection.
For Real Networks, the deal will mean both Sony PC users and users of the company's expanding range of digital music players will be offered the Real Player and Real Jukebox software.
Earlier this year Liquid Audio released a version of its digital audio player software that supported ATRAC3. The software allows users to automatically export music to Sony digital music players.