RealPlayer SP 14
RealPlayer SP is one of those media applications that seems to have been around since the very beginnings of the web.
Nowadays, its far more sophisticated than it was in its humble beginnings and features social and portability options that make it a widely-used application for those who want to share films and take the player on the move with them.
Installation of RealPlayer SP is a little annoying though. When you install it you are offered a range of options, such as to add a desktop shortcut to RealPlayer’s game site, download Google Chrome, plus you have to close and restart your browser (you’ll require the latest version of Internet Explorer). The installation process also takes a couple of minutes after this to fully install. Finally, when it starts, you’re offered a chance to upgrade to paid versions of RealPlayer SP before you have to register yourself with Real Networks.
When you’re up and running, RealPlayer SP features a wide interface where you will notice some ads and videos recommended by Real Networks. While this looks a bit cluttered and messy, the real benefits of RealPlayer SP come in using it as a portable player and converter. RealPlayer SP is ideal for playing and sharing video with your friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter and it works easily with BlackBerry, iPod, iPhone and other game systems. The new video converter allows you to copy online video to your iPod, Xbox, PS3 and other devices. Unfortunately, you can’t rip DVDs with RealPlayer SP, although this is available as a feature if you upgrade to RealPlayer Plus.
One of the most annoying aspects of RealPlayer SP however is that it takes ages to start whether streaming a clip or just opening a standalone video file. This may be due to the many extensions and plugins that come preinstalled with it. There are also too many clicks and mouse movements required just to switch to a full-screen playback mode when viewing a clip on a web page. Also, it appears that you are able to watch a selection of channels for free in the ‘SuperPass’ menu, such as BBC World and Al Jazeera. However, when one of the channels finally opens, you are informed that you only get five-minute free-views unless you purchase a SuperPass.
That said, RealPlayer SP isn’t bad at all. It’s comparable to Windows Media Player 12 as they both have some impressive ways of organizing your music. For me, the best feature is the CD burner which is something I’ve used from the early days of RealPlayer SP. The sheer quality of some of the media only available in Real formats makes RealPlayer SP an essential item in the toolkit of any fan of Internet video and audio.
Most recently, RealPlayer has been updated with far better mobile and social networking integration. You can now copy your favorite videos to an iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry and dozens of other popular devices automatically. In addition, you can import photos taken on an Android, BlackBerry, or digital camera to a PC with one click, then easily share favorite photos on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.
RealPlayer SP is a media player that has suffered from serious feature-creep over the years. However, it’s still a must-have on any PC that’s connected to the Internet.