Progressive Networks' Products Allow for Faster, Better Audio

Article excerpt

Progressive Networks has recently launched two updated RealAudio products. One is a new RealAudio player and the other is a new RealAudio delivery system.

Progressive Networks' RealAudio client/server software system enables Internet and online users equipped with conventional multimedia personal computer and voice-grade telephone lines to browse, select, and play back audio or audio-based multimedia content on demand, in real time. This is faster than typical download times for delivery of audio over conventional online methods: Usually audio is downloaded at a rate that is five times longerthan the actual program; the listener must wait 25 minutes before listening to just five minutes of audio.

The RealAudio System consists of the RealAudio Player, a client-based software enabling Internet/online users to access existing audio for instant playback, and the RealAudio Server, which enables major media content providers to distribute audio or audio-based multimedia streams over the Internet to a broad base of consumers and end users. A RealAudio Encoder allows individuals to encode their audio programming for nearly any analog or digital source.

Works Like a Car Radio

Progressive Networks recently launched RealAudio Player Plus, an enhanced version of the free RealAudio Player that makes accessing audio on the Internet as simple as tuning a car radio, with preset and scan buttons.

The RealAudio Player Plus, with a suggested retail price of $29.99, is available for purchase online at http:/ www.realaudio.com and on retail shelves.

"With thousands of hours of live and prerecorded programming events broadcast in RealAudio each week on the Internet, the ability to access, organize, and personalize usage has become essential," said Rob Glaser, chairman and chief executive officer of Progressive Networks. "The RealAudio Player Plus provides users with the most efficient way to locate, manage, and instantly access RealAudio content worldwide."

The RealAudio Player Plus enhances existing RealAudio technology by adding the following capabilities: *Preset Buttons: Enables listeners to quickly reach their favorite RealAudio sites with easy one-button access. *Scanning: Allows users to surf hundreds of different live radio stations over the Internet without waiting for Web pages to download graphics. *Selective Record: Allows users to listen to audio programs off-line by saving selected audio content locally to their PC, even if they are away from their desk. This option is available only if the content publisher chooses to encode its content, thus protecting the rights of the content creator as well as providing a service to the user. *Timecast Integration: Allows users to receive customized multimedia news, information, and entertainment over the Internet. Individual users' audio preferences are sent to Progressive Networks' *Timecast Web site, which intelligently selects and delivers live and prerecorded audio programs tailored to each user. *Perfect Play: Allows 14.4 users the ability to listen to higher-quality 28.8 RealAudio sound with the next upgrade of Real Audio.

Included with the RealAudio Player Plus are copies of both Netscape Navigator 2.0 and Internet Explorer 3.0, more than $100 of Internet audio essentials, and one month of free unlimited connection time.

Retail distribution and sales for the RealAudio Player Plus is being handled by Broderbund. Progressive Networks will continue to offer a RealAudio Player for free from its Web site at http:/l www.realaudio.com.

Broadcast-Quality Sound via Net

Just before press time, Progressive Networks announced the Rea(Audio System 3.0, which delivers stereo sound over 28.8 modems and near-CD-quality sound over ISDN and LAN bandwidths.

RealAudio 3.0 beta is available to the public immediately from Progressive Networks' Web site (http:/www. …