Internet

New Realplayer allows easy YouTube downloads

RealNetworks announced today the public availability of its beta release of RealPlayer 11, which is able to download and burn videos from popular Web sites, such as YouTube.

RealNetworks announced today the public availability of its beta release of RealPlayer 11, which is able to download and burn videos from popular Web sites, such as YouTube.

Mouse over a video in your favourite Web browser and you'll get a "Download This Video" button at the top of the video.

Available today from the RealPlayer Web site is the latest beta version of RealPlayer 11. The key feature of this new edition is the ability to download non DRM-protected videos from any Web site. Senior director at RealNetworks Asia Pacific, Hunsen Law, said during today's media launch, that while there is other software on the market which performs a similar function, none match the simplicity of RealPlayer 11's one-click download.

When users move their mouse over video content on their Web browser, a "Download This Video" button is shown briefly to the top of the video. During his demonstration to CNET.com.au, Law successfully downloaded non DRM-protected content from YouTube, the ABC and Apple, while the RealPlayer software prevented us from saving DRM-protected videos shown on the Fox television and Atom Films Web sites. According to RealNetworks, RealPlayer 11 will download all non-protected content stored in Adobe Flash, Windows Media and QuickTime formats, as well as RealPlayer, of course. (Since returning to the office, we've personally had success saving non-DRM material hosted on YouTube, Apple's QuickTime movie trailers sub-site and our sister site ZDNet Australia.)

As before there will be a free and premium versions of the RealPlayer. The free version includes the one-click download functionality, playback of most popular file formats -- including MPEG and DivX -- and allows users to burn downloaded videos in Video CD format for playback on home theatre systems. With the premium version, which costs US$4.95 a month, users can also burn downloaded videos onto DVD. Additionally, they will be given a "superpass" to RealNetworks Australia's library of about 300 movies and TV shows. The library is mainly drawn from outside the "big five" film studios, with marquee content currently being Jimeoin's movie The Extra and season one of Footballers' Wives. Law stated that RealNetworks were currently adding three titles a week and were hoping to have 500 titles by the end of the year. All content in the library is -- for now -- only available via streaming.

Users of the free edition will be able to view a subset of the library's content in ad-sponsored format. In this mode, full-screen viewing is disabled and advertisements are displayed to the top and on the right of the video being screened. Also featured in this beta of RealPlayer 11 is a downloadable library of "casual" games and the ability to listen to and record Internet radio stations.