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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

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November 15, 2007 12:00 AM

RealPlayer 11 goes gold today, Mac beta debuts

Posted by Brier Dudley

A complete version of RealNetworks new flagship media player is available today, five months after the company released a beta test version to the public.

Its standout feature is the ability to "rip" videos from the Web with a click and save them for later viewing. When you have the player running and you browse over an online video clip that doesn't have copyright locks, a control appears and asks if you'd like to save the video to the player.

The basic player is free while a premium version with additional features, such as DVD burning of saved videos, costs $40.

New in the final version is the ability to view thumbnail images of saved videos.

Real is also announcing new stuff for iPod and Mac users.

The premium version of the RealPlayer now has the ability to transfer saved clips to video iPods in h.264 format.

"We magically do the video conversion to the right video format and then put them on iPod,'' Real VP Jeff Chasen said.

You transfer the clips as files. Real's still working on a way to have the player's library mesh with iTunes so they automatically sync; Chasen said that should come next year.

Also new today is a beta version of the new player for Macs. It's free, and a final version should be ready in the first half of next year, Chasen said.

Real didn't provide many user stats. Chasen would say only that "millions and millions" tried the beta version and Real's now seeing about a million downloads a day.

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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.