RealPlayer 11 review

What, I hear you cry, is RealPlayer still going? Not only is it still going, it’s a thriving concern. The number three online media player, behind QuickTime and Windows Media Player, has made it to version 11 with performance and features that keep it in competition with the market leaders.

It’s been a tough ride though. Windows Media Player is still the most popular streaming media solution when talking about all platforms, and the growing popularity of iTunes on both Mac OS and Windows has eaten up a big chunk of RealPlayer’s market share. So what’s it doing to fight back?

To begin with – there is the feature that used to be RealPlayer’s unique selling point – streaming on demand. It’s not so impressive now that Windows Media Player does it so well, but free radio and TV feeds are welcome. The quality’s dependent on your Internet connection and adapts to it in real time using SureStream technology. That’s a given.

The new version is the best looking RealPlayer yet. It’s compact and Mac friendly, with few of the intrusive pop-ups that make the program such a pain to run on Windows. Another advantage is that it plays back video clips in full screen mode, for free. That’s the kind of functionality you’ll only find in the Pro version of the QuickTime Player. And while we’re talking about other formats, RealPlayer does them as well. It can play Flash Video, Windows Media Format and QuickTime.

There’s very little to dislike about RealPlayer 11 – just a nagging feeling that it might all be too late for the streaming media giant. iTunes has made QuickTime so ubiquitous and Windows Media Player is everywhere. Even Flash Video has replaced Real Video as the format of choice on many of the world’s biggest media servers, including the BBC iPlayer.

OUR VERDICT

Nonetheless, that doesn’t change the fact the RealPlayer 11 is a great, if not quite essential, free tool to have on your Mac.

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