Back in the day, the folks at RealPlayer practically invented streaming audio over the Internet. Still, most people simply remember RealPlayer as that annoying piece of software that popped up ads on your system, messed up your Windows registry, and was incredibly hard to get rid of. The 1999 version ranked #2 on PC World magazine's list of The 25 Worst Tech Products Of All Time and with the dotcom burst, it was nearly wiped out from the market.
Fast-forward to 2013: RealPlayer hopes to take over not only your Windows machine but also your Android devices, iPhones, iPads, Roku set-top boxes and, soon, your Mac, through RealPlayer Cloud. The product hinges on the assumption that those of us who are already sharing videos on Vine and Instagram and YouTube would like yet another service to do that.
"The amount of video content that consumers are capturing and watching is exploding, but moving that video around is often painfully difficult," says Rob Glaser, founder and interim CEO of RealNetworks in a press release issued by the company. What RealPlayer Cloud allows you to do is upload, save and share videos with friends or simply among your various devices. Real claims that its new service reformats the videos to best suit the device you're viewing them on and accounts for bandwidth and storage space. You can also download videos to a device to watch them offline.
RealPlayer Cloud isn't the first service to offer these capabilities. Boxee's Cloudee, which launched in June 2012, allowed users to upload videos from their iPhones and share them—privately—with their friends. That service was shut down last week after Samsung acquired Boxee for just under $30 million. A free account will get you the apps and 2 GB in storage. Anything over that costs real money: $49 a year for 25 GB; $99 for 100 GB; and $299 for 300 GB.
[Image courtesy of RealNetworks]