Browser requires the RealPlayer plug-in. Fortunately, this is often already found in Navigator and Internet Explorer installations.
- 30 million registered users (many don't register)
- 100K players/day downloaded in 1998
- RealPlayer is now bundled with Netscape Communicator, which should increase its market penetration dramatically.
- The installer properly sets up your browser to work with the plug-in.
Playback can't fast-forward or rewind (except to the very start), unless you're using the RealAudio server software (see below).
The RealAudio Encoder is required:
- Very simple to use and quite fast.
At the lowest music-capable bitrate, 16Kbits/sec, RealAudio provides three options for compression:
- narrowband - least high frequencies, sounds quite bad, Every time I try this option, the resulting audio file skips after about 20 seconds
- mediumband - less high frequencies, best for music with snare drums, slightly less flangy
- fullband - most high frequencies, flanges very badly with snare drums and other rock-and-roll-type sounds, supposedly the best choice for classical music
- online demonstration
At 32Kbits/sec, RealAudio offers a stereo encoding not available in Shockwave.
- It sounds pretty muddy but if your music really needs stereo, it might be a good option.
Special server software is not required, but you get a more reliable connection if you use RealAudio server software.
- If you run your own server, you can buy basic Server Plus for $695.
- If you're using an ISP, it must license RealAudio server software. If so, you may have to pay extra to use the software.
Title, author, and copyright of the music are encoded in the file.