So Real released RealPlayer 16, an update to a media player that has been around for a very long time. If you are asking users who have been around for a while what they think of RealPlayer, most will likely refer to the media player as bloatware, that uses too many system resources when running, that displays lots of ads, and tries to drive users into purchasing RealPlayer Premium.
The big new feature of RealPlayer 16 is the redesigned video downloader and the linked video bookmarking system. When you visit video sites either directly in your web browser or in RealPlayer, you get the option to bookmark the video so that you can watch it in RealPlayer whenever you want without having to open a web browser to do so.
The new Toolbar Mode has also been integrated in the free version of RealPlayer. This mode reduces the player's Chrome significantly. To use it, simply hit F8 and you will notice that the player attaches itself to the top of the taskbar.
There are a couple of other features that RealPlayer 16 introduces that users may like. The Private Mode for instance enables you to protect certain kinds of videos from prying eyes, and the Facebook Video integration makes sure you can access videos uploaded to Facebook directly in the player.
When you try to use the player to its fullest extent though, you will soon find out that you can't do so without upgrading to RealPlayer Plus. For starters, the attempt to play H.264 videos, or mkv, divx or webm files, will display an upgrade screen. RealPlayer 16 free does not support these formats, and if you want to play them in the program, you will have to upgrade to the plus version before you can do so. This is obviously a serious limitation that makes the player unusable for users who want to playback those formats on their system.
Three processes are automatically started when you run the program. The main process realplay.exe that uses roughly 40 Megabytes in idle mode, RealNetworks Scheduler realsched.exe with uses less than 500K, and recordingmanager.exe which is the RealDownloader process.
You will also notice that RealPlayer adds itself to the startup folder so that it is automatically started with the operating system.
Limiting the supported video formats in the free version is not really something that you'd expect from a media player. RealPlayer 16 offers a couple of interesting features, but the limitation makes it only usable for users who do not need to play video files in the formats only supported by the player's plus version.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.