Tag Archives: media-player

Real Networks Announces Cloud-Based Media Library Service

Next week during the D Mobile tech conference, Real plans to unveil their first major product release in quite some time. The cross-platform media management service has two parts to it: software that you run on your computer or mobile device that watches for new content stored on them; and a Web services that will collect your media and stream (or load) it to all devices you own. This product hasn’t been named yet, but I’m thinking it should simply be called Genius.

This service plans to handle your music, videos and photos. It will – of course – respect digital rights and not allow you to stream protected content, such as television shows and movies. It will be much easier, though, to move files and playlists between your devices. This first iteration will focus on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet and computers. Future versions might just include support for devices such as digital video recorders and gaming consoles. The service is designed to work with media files you own.

Real CEO Robert Kimball says Real has no intention of competing with Apple to build a media store, even though it does provide media store technology and services to carriers that they pitch under their own brands. In fact, Kimball says, the media aggregation service will make iTunes and other media stores more valuable to consumers by enabling them to move their content around to all the devices they have, no matter what technology platforms they’re using (except for all-Apple users; Kimball admits people who live completely in the Apple cocoon don’t need an aggregator).

The company is candid when talking about their current media viewer accounts for less than a tenth of the company’s business. They don’t expect a major income boost from the new service. From what we’re seeing thus far, this seems to have the potential of allowing you to truly tame your media libraries. If it goes over as well as expected, it could possibly bring Real back to the forefront of consumers’ minds.

New Year’s Resolutions with a Twist

While you’re making your list of resolutions this year, why not add in some of a different nature? If you’ve been “meaning” to have more of a presence on the various social media networks, why not turn that into a resolution? Resolve to send out a particular number of thought-provoking tweets per day. Decide how often you will be able to update your various site profiles, and stick to it!

People want to know what you’re up to. I know, I know… you’re busy. I am, as well! But it’s critical these days to have an active presence on the various social media sites if you’re any kind of social Geek. You have to keep yourself – and your community – updated. Don’t just post about your dinner, either. People want to know what’s really going on in that head of yours!

Commit yourself to not only blogging yourself, but to reading what others have done. There are a lot of excellent findings right within our own community, if only you make the time to look!

Just in time for the holiday shopping crunch, our downloads team has assembled an excellent array of software and App offerings. Be sure to check out what’s available, and save money on software purchases!

What Kind of Music do you Listen To?

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Everyone close your eyes, and think of what would happen if Firefox made love to iTunes. After the gestation period, we would likely see something like Songbird. What is Songbird? Basically, it’s exactly as I said… imagine that your web browser and your favorite music tool have gotten together to create something new.

Songbird media player is a highly customizable alternative to traditional desktop media players. It can not only help you manage the music that you already have, it can help you discover other music that’s out there on the Web. It’s an integrated experience. I know, you already use a media management tool. Yeah.. but you use some company’s media manager tool. They tend to be driven by corporations. They tend to shove all these partnerships down your throat?

What if you just want to manage your music? What if you just want to discover new music? What if you just want something that’s completely open-source, built by the community? What if you just wanted to subscribe to your favorite music blogs and get notified automatically when a new song is released? Ah hah! This is where Songbird comes in. Since it’s free, it’s worth an shot isn’t it?

This new version has integrated SHOUTCast. If you’ve never used a SHOUTCast stream before, it’s definitely worth using. You don’t have to use it of course. If you aren’t familiar with it, SHOUTcast is a free Internet radio service.

Songbird is cross-platform, so you can use it on any machine without a snag. It’s very straightforward. Out of the box, it has a clean black interface, but you can create skins if you want to. There are some pretty cool bookmarks already embedded with it, that you can of course edit or delete should you choose.

Download it, give it a shot and let me know what you think.


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Is the Adobe Media Player any Good?

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For years I have been suggesting that Adobe would totally kill were it to develop a desktop media player… largely because everyone seems to have Adobe Flash installed already. Adobe has officially released a media player at long last! It’s not just a media player, per se… it goes a long way towards yanking you away from your television set, and opening your eyes to media on your computer.
Adobe Media Player software provides control and flexibility to view what you want, when you want… whether online or offline. You can queue up and download your favorite Internet TV content, track and download new episodes automatically, and manage your personal video library for viewing at your convenience. Adobe Media Player enables businesses to create, deliver, and monetize high-quality content using a variety of new business models. The customizable, cross-platform player leverages existing Adobe Flash technology and supports downloaded and streamed media of up to full-screen HD resolution.
Top networks and media companies present your favorite shows for viewing online or offline. From edge-of-your-seat dramas, sports, and reality TV shows to classic feature films and miniseries as well as educational videos and more, Adobe participating network partners put a wealth of enjoyment at your fingertips with Adobe Media Player. Some of the partners include CBS, Food Network, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central.
All in all, this first version is amazing. The eye candy is good… and the features are excellent. It seems fast. It’s a great way to discover video content. The best thing it has going for it is that it features an excellent mix of ‘traditional’ content, as well as lesser content, such as what we do here.


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Mac Media Software (and Saving Money)

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This caller had several questions. He just converted to Mac from Windows… and is needing some video editing software for the Mac. He’s hoping to find something for a Mac that works even half as good as what Nero can do. The best thing I can think of for a Mac would be Toast, from Roxio. Roxio Toast 8 sets the standard for burning CDs, DVDs, and now Blu-ray discs on the Mac. Create superior sounding audio CDs with crossfades. Enjoy your TV shows anywhere with exclusive EyeTV burning and TiVoToGo transfers to DVD or iPod. Copy your audio CDs, movies and DVDs. It’s your digital life, Toast It!

Roxio also has a program called Crunch. Roxio Crunch is the essential video converter for your Apple TV, iPod, and iPhone. Take your video in to the living room or the palm of your hands fast and simple. Roxio Crunch is a one-stop shop for all of your video conversion needs. Batch export will make your life even simpler: converted video will be automatically added to iTunes for syncing. Don’t just convert it, Crunch it!

Lastly, Roxio is also the creator of Popcorn (coupon code: POP3SAVE10). Popcorn lets you enjoy your video anywhere you want, on the playback device of your choice. Easily make high quality copies of your DVDs and movies. Take television recordings from your Mac to the portable device of your choice for on-the-go viewing or fit 4 hours of video on a single layer-DVD.


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Open Source Media Player Alternatives

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This live call involved a gentleman asking me for a good free alternative to Windows Media Player. He’s had a lot of trouble using WMP, and doesn’t really like it.

The chat room immediately went nuts on this request, yelling (typing, of course) out names of various media players. Everyone has their favorites, it seems. My first suggestion is VLC, and the other one is MPlayer. Both of them are free, and work very well. In fact, the new Google Video player is based on VLC.

MPlayer is a movie player which runs on many systems. It plays most MPEG/VOB, AVI, Ogg/OGM, VIVO, ASF/WMA/WMV, QT/MOV/MP4, RealMedia, Matroska, NUT, NuppelVideo, FLI, YUV4MPEG, FILM, RoQ, PVA files, supported by many native, XAnim, and Win32 DLL codecs. You can watch VideoCD, SVCD, DVD, 3ivx, DivX 3/4/5 and even WMV movies.

VLC media player is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, …) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It can also be used as a server to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network.


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I'm Not Buying a Zune!!!

d00d! I can’t wait! I’m not going to buy a Zune tomorrow! I’m going to bed early tonight so that I can get up late tomorrow (and avoid going to stores altogether, so that I can be sure that I won’t buy a Zune). Are you not buying a Zune? We can start up a club of people who aren’t buying Zunes, because if you’re not buying a Zune – you’re not alone. I can’t wait to not buy my Zune. It’s going to be awesome. Or, not awesome?