RealNetworks has released a beta version of the RealOne Player for Mac OS X.

This confirms Lawrence Jacobson's, RealNetworks president and chief operating officer, statements to Macworld UK last month. He suggested that Real was working on a Mac OS X-compatible player, but refused to confirm this until July 17.

There's a new TurboPlay feature – as with the instant streaming feature of QuickTime 6.0, this “virtually” eliminates buffering over high-speed connections, so clips start faster and play smoother.

The beta introduces RealVideo 9, offering better compression at every bandwidth with five channel RealAudio Surround sound.

As a beta, the software contains only basic features, and the company warns that some compatibility issues may exist.

Such issues include: unpredictable support for Flash contextual menus; the 'view clip source' feature isn't enabled; SMIL 2.0 content may not display reliably; and some redraw issues may occur when scrolling in a browser while playing content embedded on a page.

The software requires Mac OS X 10.1 or higher, 128MB of RAM, and at least a G3 processor. The beta does not override any user's currently installed Real Player, and will expire when the final version is released. The installer shows that this preview version expires November 13.

It's available for free download.