RealNets has new player for downloading

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NEW YORK -- Digital entertainment technology company RealNetworks on Thursday unveiled its new free RealPlayer software featuring a plug-in that will make it easier for users to download streaming content from video sites.

The new player, available this month in beta mode at RealPlayer.com, will contain a "download this video" button that will appear when users are streaming noncopyright-protected videos on their computers. This will give users the option to download content from such sites as Google's YouTube or Yahoo's video site directly to their hard drives for offline viewing -- a feature that is sure to raise eyebrows among copyright holders and DRM proponents.

"The new RealPlayer gives consumers more control of Internet video than was ever possible before," Real CEO and chairman Rob Glaser said. "It is a major step towards realizing our vision of bringing great digital entertainment to more people on more screens around the world."

The new player will support videos in most formats, including Windows Media, Quicktime, Real and Flash -- the technology used by YouTube, Google Video, Yahoo and AOL's video portal. DRM-protected videos, though, will not be able to be downloaded through the new service.

Using the paid premium version of the player, users also will have the option to burn their downloaded videos to DVD or CD.

Initially, the player will be available only on PCs and on Mircosoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox browsers. Real plans to release a Mac version of the software this year.
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