Seattle — New media-management software developed by RealNetworks will encourage consumers to side-load Web video and camcorder video from PCs to smartphones, portable media players (PMPs) and other portable devices, including the PlayStation Portable (PSP), RealNetworks said.
The RealPlayer SP (Social and Portable) application, available in beta form in free and $39.99 versions at www.realplayer.com, enables one-step transcoding and side-loading of PC-stored video to connected
portables. Once users select their portable device from a menu of models, the software automatically detects the device when it’s plugged into a PC. The app then transcodes selected videos to a format supported by the device and transfers the videos to the device in a time frame that’s “a little faster than real time,” said Jeff Chasen, video product development VP.
The same videos can be shared through Twitter, Facebook or email with one extra click, the company added.
The application comes with a built-in database of portable-device profiles, which include the video codecs, frame rates and resolutions supported by multiple portable devices, including BlackBerry models, Sony’s PSP and other devices, he explained. “We hide the complexity of all the steps” that consumers endure when using software plug-ins to transfer video to portable devices, Chasen explained. Those plug-ins require users to manually select the codec, frame rate and resolution of their device, if a consumer knows them at all, he said.
Each version of RealNetworks SP “automatically picks the best quality video” that it supports for a particular portable device, Chasen said. Both versions of the app also features Internet radio, video streaming, CD burning and music downloading.
On the PC, both versions play back Internet-downloaded video in the Windows Media, Quicktime, Real Video, iPod/iPhone H.264, H.264 for other devices and Flash. They also play camcorder video in the H.264, Quicktime and AVI formats.
Both versions can transcode these formats to H.263, Windows Media, RealVideo and iPod/iPhone H.264. The $39 version adds transcoding to H.264 for other devices, described by Chasen as offering the highest quality video, as well as DVD playback and burning to the DVD format.
At launch today, the device supports all BlackBerry SKUs, the iPhone, iPods, Microsoft Zune, all Palm smartphones including the Pre, all versions of the Sidekick, T-Mobile’s Android-based G-1 smartphone, the PSP, The Nokia N97 and E71x, generic MP3 audio portables and generic 3GP cellphones, which include many feature phones. The software also automatically trancodes video to formats supported by Apple TV and the Xbox and PlayStation game consoles, although it doesn’t support automatic transfer to those devices.
After the launch, support for new devices, including Windows Mobile Devices, will be added at a rate of about 10 per month. By the end of the year, support for digital camcorders AVCHD format will be available.
Supported BlackBerry SKUs consist of the Bold, Curve series, 8800 series and Storm.
If multiple family members share a computer’s user account and own different smartphones or PMPs, each user must select his portable model before each transfer session, but if multiple users use different user accounts, they need only select their device once for all future transfer sessions if they log into the PC using their user account.