BLOG UPDATE: Real Networks is thrilled to announce RealPlayer Cloud is now RealTimes. Read all about the exciting new product features of RealTimes.
We are using more devices than ever to watch videos: PCs, smartphones, tablets, and even Smart TVs. Currently, there are no standard TV-oriented platforms or technologies that make it easy to watch PC/tablet/smartphone videos on a TV. It’s true; we live in a multi-device world and many of those devices can record videos. Unfortunately, that means our videos are trapped in a complex maze of video formats (mov, mkv, avi, mp4, 3gp, etc.), multiple operating systems (iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac), and arbitrary device limitations (for example, videos longer than 2 minutes can’t easily be sent from iPhones and Android smartphones can’t play mov files). If we want to watch our videos stored on one device on another it often requires connector cables (HDMI, mini-HDMI, VGA, proprietary, etc.).
That’s where RealCloud is different. It sets our videos free and gives us a single seamless way to access our videos on all our devices. This is accomplished in two ways: RealNetworks’ SurePlayTM technology and connecting devices via the cloud or a home Wi-Fi network. RealNetworks’ SurePlayTM technology auto-formats videos and stores multiple copies of the source file so that any uploaded video is quickly available to be watched regardless of device, screen size, bandwidth or available storage space. Second, it connects devices to each other via the cloud or via a home Wi-Fi network, so that they are visible to each other.
THE REALCLOUD SOLUTION
RealCloud makes moving and sharing videos across platforms and devices a seamless experience so that videos are quickly available for playback on any device (aka SurePlayTM). RealNetworks developed SurePlayTM, a revolutionary new technology that enables auto-formatting of videos to match the device type, size of the screen, available bandwidth, and storage space available on the device.
Typically iPads, iPhones, Rokus, and Android smartphones or tablets can only play a small set of video formats For example, if you move an mkv file to an iPad and expect it to just play, it won’t. Additionally, very high bitrate files (HD resolution) won’t play smoothly on these devices unless they are right-sized for the screen and network bandwidth. SurePlayTM takes care of these technical irregularities by creating and storing right-sized copies and formats of videos so that they are always available for instant playback on all devices at any given time.
How RealCloud Works
Once you upload a video from any device regardless of format, it is optimized, and multiple copies of different profiles are created and stored in secondary storage in the cloud. These copies do not affect the amount of storage space available in your RealCloud account. While multiple copies are automatically made, the source video file is always available for download. Additionally, uploaded files are immediately available for playback even while they are being transcoded.
During playback, HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) profiles or Progressive Download (PD) profiles are appropriately served depending on the device and connectivity being used to watch the video. If you want to download the file to a device for offline playback, the right PD profile is delivered. For example, if you uploaded a mkv file to RealCloud and want to download it to an iPad, the video downloaded to the iPad using the RealCloud app will be in the right format for playback on the iPad. RealNetworks’ SurePlayTM system exists both on the cloud and on the devices where RealCloud is installed. This allows guaranteed playback not only from cloud-to-device, but also from device-to-device.
If you opt into the premium tier you get additional streaming and PD profiles, as well as more cloud storage space. Your videos with a higher bitrate get a higher definition experience in high bandwidth, large screen environments. When you share videos using RealCloud with friends and family, they don’t need to install the app or register for an account in order to watch the video. Because of SurePlayTM, the video always plays at the receiver’s end. This enables a seamless share and play experience.
Connecting Multi-Device Experiences
There are several services available for device detection and app connectivity. Some of the popular ones are uPnP/DLNA and Apple’s Bonjour. RealCloud supports more platforms than Bonjour (such as Roku), and is easier to use than DLNA. Instead of purely relying on these services, SurePlayTM includes a cloud-resident service that ensures inter-device connectivity. Devices use the cloud as a common registration point for discovering one another.
The RealCloud app is currently available for Windows 7, Windows 8 (XP and Vista support is coming soon), iPhone and iPad, Android, Roku, and can be accessed on a Mac and other platforms via popular web browsers. Download the free app today and start moving, sharing, and watching videos on your favorite devices.
Let us know if you have any questions about RealCloud in the comments below.