RealPlayer SP Beta Comes to the Mac- It Rips, Converts, Shares and Syncs Internet Video

Posted by at 10:49 am on February 8, 2010

RealPlayer SP Download

RealPlayer SP Download

Last week Real asked me drop by for a pre-MacWorld briefing.   During the meeting, John Schussler of Real showed me RealPlayer SP Beta for Mac.   It is software which makes it easy for anyone to get online video to their iPod, game console and mobile phones.     You can download the beta starting today. It is a 27MB download.

The Realplayer package now consists of 3 apps: The player, which has gone largely unchanged; the downloader and the new piece, the converter.
The SP Stands for Social/Portable

Social means you can share the videos you download via Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and old fashioned E-mail. The Myspace functionality is only on the Mac right now, sorry Windows users.   Some Twitter users may not like ads for Real that are included on your tweet.   They look like the following:

just downloaded If Filmmakers Directed the Super Bowl http://tr.im/ HkHA with #RealPlayer http://real.com/t

I find it easy enough to remove the ad from the post, but I wish Real gave an option to keep it from happening in the first place.   I do love the fact that it does a tr.im URL.

RealPlayer SP Converter

On the portable side, the Real Player Converter puts an end to the confusion of the Codec alphabet soup.   Many other third parties out there require you to know what format your device needs the video to be in.   Let’s be honest, most people don’t know what H.264, H.263, 3GP,   etc are.   Even if you do, you just want to get the video on the device.   With the Realplayer Converter, you pick your device and let the the Converter do the rest for you.

For power users, Real does let you tweak the converter settings in almost any way you want to get the file size you are looking for or quality that your device can support.

Another great thing about Converter is that it can convert the same video to multiple devices at once so if you want a copy for your BlackBerry, AppleTV and iPod touch, you have it convert and copy to all those devices at the same time.   You can even do queue up multiple videos at a time for it to convert.

For those of us who get ton of videos IM’d and e-mailed to us, being able to download and take them on the go to watch when we want on the device we want is great.

Another helpful feature of the Converter is that it can make an MP3 audio file from a video.   As John Schussler pointed out, this is a great feature for the gym rats. I also think it is great for those of us who like the Sunday morning talk shows but have an audio only player with us for our commutes.

If you are in sales or do demos, this beta makes easy for you to take your company’s videos on the go to show clients without the hassle of booting up your laptop.

Should I download It

Real is pushing this beta over the release version when you go to its site.   During my four days of playing with the release they gave me, I did find small issues like the share via twitter putting a null where the Tr.im URL should have been.   But it never locked up my system or did anything nasty. Plus the install was smooth.   So as far as betas go, it seems to have small issues but the core looks to be solid.

Wishes and Hopes

Real has a great package on its hands and they have done a great job giving it a Mac look and feel.   Here are some wishes I have for it.

  • A Library – The player can automatically convert and add your videos to iTunes, so they can easily be transferred to your iPod or iPhone. While this is great, the Windows version has a library and I wish they did one for the Mac version as well.   I would love to manage my downloads all from within RealPlayer rather than needing to use iTunes or Finder.  
  • TVs – I love that they have profiles for Nokia S60 devices, Palm Pre, iPhone, iPod, Xbox and etc. But there many TVs which can take USB drives or SD cards and play videos stored on them.   To be fair Real isn’t just going by the specs but testing the profiles with all the devices it has profiles for.   So the TV vendors would need to play ball to see this happen since a cell phone is much less than a flat screen TV.
  • Upscaling – The RealPlayer Converter does not do any upscaling at this time. So while there are profiles for AppleTV, Xbox 360 and the PS3, the converter does not do anything to a lower res video to improves its quality on devices which can support HD video.
  • H L 5 Video – If you are doing the YouTube or Vimeo H L 5 video betas, you will need to go back to the Flash version of the sites. The Realplayer Download cannot download H L 5 videos at this time.
  • Support for OpenCL – The Converter does not have support on Snow leopard (OSX 10.6) for Open CL. In short having support for Open CL means the the video conversions could be much faster since OpenCL takes the power of graphics processors (GPUs) and makes it available along with the CPU for doing such tasks.

A Must Have

Don’t let my list of wishes make you think I don’t like this package, it is so good it leaves you wanting more.
I have already found this player, even in its beta form, to be very useful and a must have on all my Macs.

1 Comment for “RealPlayer SP Beta Comes to the Mac- It Rips, Converts, Shares and Syncs Internet Video”

  1. I am looking for a media player like this, thank you

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