1) Alternative to RealPlayer
I recently exchanged mail with reader Phil Freed, who was having
Hi, Fred. Love the newsletter--- not to mention that the Plus
edition is the best bargain in town (but don't tell your
I have a question about audio players. I'm hoping that you or
your readers can give me a hand. Before I reloaded my laptop,
I used to play RealAudio songs on it for my daughters. When I
went to download the latest free version (RealOne), the
license agreement made me stop. In part, it says:
"Once you log into the Software, user information including
your user id will be sent in communications with RN's servers.
This information is used to access your regular account,
premium content, non-premium content, services, features, and
other personalized services. RN may match the user id to
personally identifiable information in order to provide you
with products, services, and software that you're entitled to
and to provide you with relevant information."
Good gracious. All I want to do is play some music for my
daughters! I don't mind trading usage information for free
software, but the phrase "user information including your user
id will be sent" is a little too broad. Given Real's less than
stellar privacy record, I'm disinclined to install their
I'm willing to pay for a product that protects my privacy, but
I have been unable to find any Windows-based alternatives for
playing RealAudio. I know that past versions of the Real
player have allowed users to disable most of the more
intrusive "features" of the software, but it's not clear
whether this is still true. So:
1) Are there alternatives to RealOne for playing RealAudio
files? I've found WinAmp and Innover, but this combination no
longer seems to be supported.
2) Can the spyware aspects of RealOne be effectively
I agree that RealPlayer has become obnoxiously aggressive in their
marketing. In fact, I'm amazed that we don't hear more about it from
privacy mavens who love to pillory (say) Microsoft for even minor
infractions. RealPlayer---like AOL/Netscape--- is, if anything, much
worse than Microsoft in aggressively scooping user data, yet few seem
all alarmed about it. Makes no sense.
Anyway, I simply avoid using RealPlayer, so I didn't have a good answer
for Phil. But he kept digging:
Usenet comes to the rescue once again! I would have tried
there first, but I hadn't yet reinstalled my newsreader.
There's a freeware product called JetAudio that seems to fit
the bill perfectly: http://www.jetaudio.com
It plays .RA, .RAM, and .RMI files (which isn't all RealAudio
content, but it meets my simple needs.) It appears to be free
of spy-, ad- or nag-ware, and (outside of some initial
twiddling with the file associations) it appears to work
perfectly. I tested the software on Real's test site:
It even supports ripping and burning audio CDs, with some
extra MP3 features in the non-free "Plus" version.
For a bit more info, see the discussion in "alt.comp.freeware"
with the subject line "Real Audio Codecs". It began on
4/15/2003. This link might get you there:
Thanks again for your wonderful newsletter.
From the Langalist.
I am having problems connecting to the JEtAudio site, but if I find another site to download from, I will post the link.
Ok found a site:
If it doesn't work, try this site instead: