Today on the Internet: MTV discusses its social media strategy for the show Skins; Boxee considers subsidized deals to compete with Apple; and a new upgrade of RealPlayer for Android comes out, based on user feedback.
Today on the Net: the new Apple TV is reviewed, Real releases a brand new RealPlayer with the ability to watch videos across multiple devices and Ooyala now lets publishers make custom channels for content on Roku set-top boxes.
RealNetworks (s RNWK) is officially releasing a new version of its RealPlayer SP for Windows today that comes with some basic video editing features aimed at making the sharing of video clips more meaningful. Users are now able to trim a video and save only a selected part on their hard drive. Video clips can also be shared via services like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and various conversion options make it easier to save clips on a number of mobile devices.
I had a chance to play with the new version a little bit yesterday, and I did like some of the new features, but found others less than exciting. The social aspects could be extended, and some of the legacy content of the player is simply confusing and distracting.
RealNetworks (s RNWK), having been knocked out of much of the online video craze, is trying to be scrappy about adding new features. That’s why two years ago it launched a version of its player that enabled users to download videos from around the web, entering a helper software domain largely shunned by its larger competitors. The company still has some clout; RealPlayer 11 has been downloaded 300 million times since then.
But once you have videos offline, what do you do with them? Real today is launching RealPlayer SP, which gloms on social and portable features. Beyond the market-standard Facebook and Twitter integration, the additions might actually be something consumers find more useful, because today it’s not easy to move videos onto a mobile device in a format it can play.
Big rectangular screen, controls along the bottom, triangular play button, some kind of timeline. The fact that video players look mostly the same doesn’t stop every platform from making its own (see a collage of five control strips below).
But we’re seeing some ways that video players are evolving. Developers are finding creative ways to give viewers more options, both with the permission of content owners and without. Meanwhile, content owners are finding ways to better keep track of their videos without too much negative impact on user experience. Nobody seems to be talking about any drastic changes (like, say, a single standardized video player for everyone), but these little tweaks may well go a long way.