Real Media

See also: Audio Formats | Video Formats | WMA | WMV

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File extensions: .RM or .RA for individual files and .RAM for streaming media.

Media that include the RealAudio and RealVideo proprietary, closed-source formats. Some components of server and client have been released under open-source-friendly licenses, created by Real Networks, Inc.

RealOne is the player for these and other audio and video formats. It is a feature-rich, cross-platform, and currently serves as an alternative the iTunes music purchasing service. In Windows, testing has shown annoyances such as extra icons, file associations, and Real’s news pop-ups. Recent reviews confirm this.

RealOne supports a variety of Real Networks formats and a free version with some features disabled is available.



  • RA – for Real audio
  • RAM – for streaming
  • RM

A free producer for the following formats is disabled but with many features disabled over the full version, including backwards compatibility with previous Real products.

Realaudio has also developed a lossless format, along with Apple’s AAC, and Windows Media Player.

We recommend FLAC.


Real Audio is a Cross Platform, compressedaudio format.

Real offers two formats: a lossy codec, similar to MP3, Ogg Vorbis, and WMA. Real Audio has made its producer tool available to the public for a long time but is not the Best Compressed Audio Format. Real Audio is a great tool for compressing voice far smaller than MP3 and in mono (not stereo) format.

It is also one of the few tools besides the OGG FLAC project that offers lossless audio compression, although Real’s format is still proprietary.


Real Video tends to be a mid-point in quality between Windows Media Player Video (fast download, lossy picture) but not as clean and sharp as Quicktime (great for Movie previews).


RealPlayer does not use the RTP protocol for transport. Instead, it uses a proprietary protocol named RDP which is also bound at the rtsp:// ports.

Open Source Info

Real has been supporting Linux and the open-source community for years. Their license is OSIapproved but the audio and video codec is still closed.


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