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Chapter 4: RealPlayer 7 Plus-The Basics

With every new version of RealPlayer Plus, RealNetworks tries to improve your experience, not only in what you hear and see, but also in how you use the program. RealPlayer 7 Plus has several new features and a completely new interface (buttons, windows, menus, etc.). This chapter will guide you through the basics of your RealPlayer, the features that have helped make RealPlayer one of the most popular Internet tools in the world.

Additional Information
For more information about any of these features check out your Help file. There are also On-line Tutorials available from your Help menu that stream short tutorials to your RealPlayer.

So now I have this software, what do I do with it?

RealPlayer 7 Plus gives you access to multimedia both on the Internet and locally on your computer. With RealPlayer 7 Plus you can find and play Channels and Live Stations directly without having to launch your browser first. My Favorites, and Scanning (all described below) let you organize and search for clips directly more easily than before.

Note
Clip is a catch-all phrase to describe anything your Player plays. A clip can be video, audio, video with audio, RealText, RealPix, RealG2 with Flash animation, any combination of these, or something else completely different.

Some clips contain more than one song or video; these are called multi-clips. A multi-clip strings together several individual clips of content, but you only have to click on it a single time to hear or see all of the media associated with that clip.

Many ways to play a clip

There are two very different ways to listen to media on your computer. The first is local playback. Local playback is when you use the Open File... option from your RealPlayer 7 Plus File menu.

Streamed content, is any clip that is played over a network, whether the Internet or your company network. Before you can play a clip on the Internet you have to connect to it. You can connect to streamed content by clicking on links in a web page, using the Open Location... option from your RealPlayer 7 Plus File menu or by using the newest options RealPlayer Plus has to offer to on the Content panel: Channels, Live Stations, and Scanning.

Note
For a complete discussion of streaming media and the Internet, please see Chapter 6: What is Streaming Media and How does it Work?.

Navigating through a clip

When you start playing a clip, you have loaded it. A clip remains loaded until you select a new clip. Loading a clip means either that you are connected to it or that it was the last clip you were listening to during the current session of RealPlayer 7 Plus. A session starts when you launch RealPlayer and ends when you close it. Stopping a clip does not unload it. Stopping a clip just resets it to play from the beginning. However, just because a clip is loaded does not mean you are necessarily connected to the Internet. Loading a clip only means that your Player knows where to look for it and what clip it should work with when you click any of the control buttons (see table below).

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Navigation
Button Action

Play starts a clip from the beginning or from where you paused it.

Pause freezes playback of the clip. If you pause a clip for several minutes, you may be disconnected from the clip. When you resume playback there may be a delay while RealPlayer reconnects to the site.

Stop halts playback and resets the clip to the beginning.

The Position Slider indicates where you are in the clip. Dragging the slider to a new position will let you jump around a large clip—watch the time indicator on your Status bar for your location.

The longer you hold down Fast Forward, the further ahead in the clip you will jump.

The longer you hold down Rewind, the further back in the clip you will jump.

What if I am disconnected from my Internet Service Provider (ISP)?

If you are not connected to the Internet and attempt to play a loaded clip, RealPlayer 7 Plus will try to establish a connection for you. In most cases on, a Windows PC, this means you will see the Dial-up Connection dialog that you see when you launch your browser or get your e-mail. For a Macintosh, most often, you will be reconnected automatically. In both cases, if you do not automatically reconnect to the Internet, simply connect manually and try to play the clip again.

Channels

Channels give you one-click access to rich content that is updated on a frequent basis. All take advantage of the new SMIL format which offers a richer experience by using multiple types of streams at once (see SMIL).

Click the Channels tab to change the view on your Content Panel (see also Figure 3-6: Channels).

Figure 4-1: Channels
Channels are similar to Live Stationsin that they provide access to content. Channels, though, have additional special conveniences and abilities.

One advantage of Channels is that they provide you with up-to-date headlines from all of your selected Channels while you're connected to the Internet. The headlines appear to the right of the Channels icons. Updates occur automatically only while you are connected to the Internet.

When Content for a Channel has changed you'll see a gleam appear on the Channel; you won't have to play the Channel to find out if there's something new (see Channels gleam).

Tip
You can force a headline update to occur ahead of its next scheduled time by selecting Update headline now... from the Options menu. If you are not connected to the Internet, your Player will attempt to connect to your ISP when you click Update headlines now... To turn off automatic updating see Content Preferences.

Your RealPlayer Plus comes loaded with a starter set of Channels but you can change these at any time by clicking Add New Channels to add more. In fact, RealNetworks is always working to supply you with new options, so check regularly to see what new Channels are available.

To Change or Add to Your Channels

  1. Click the Channel titled: Add New Channels.

  2. A presentation about new Channels and other related information will be streamed to your RealPlayer 7 Plus from RealNetworks and your browser will connect to the Channels selection page.

  3. Follow the instructions on the Channels page to change your lineup. Channels are available for a variety of interests: News, Entertainment, Sports, and others.

  4. Click Finish on the Channels page to have your selections take effect.

Real.com Take5

Figure 4-2: Channels tab
Real.com Take5 is a special Channel created by RealNetworks to bring you the best of the web: a daily showcase of the top entertainment, music, news and specialty programming on the Internet. Real.com Take5 is available only through the new RealPlayer 7.

A single click on the Channel starts the program. You'll see a quick intro of each of the available stories as well as a list of other categories you can access.

Every day, editors at RealNetworks comb the Net and contact partners to find the best and most informative content just for you.

Additional Information
Real.com Take5 is a SMIL presentation (see SMIL) that combines RealG2 with Flash, RealText, RealPix and RealAudio, all synchronized in the same presentation within RealPlayer. Take5 is designed to give you a good experience even over slower dial-up connections (such as when using a 28.8 modem).

Real.com Take5 takes advantage of other new RealPlayer features such as multi-instance (multiple Player windows) and file caching. Multi-instance allows you to view a video clip in a new window and not lose your place in the main Take5 window—substantially reducing the need to reload pages. In fact, when pages are reloaded, some of the components on the page are retrieved from Clip Cache (see Performance Preferences), speeding performance.

Take5 has a dedicated team in RealNetworks working to bring you stories from around the Web making Take5 one of the best places to be on the Web every day.

Channels gleam

Figure 4-3: Channels tab with gleam
Channels have been enhanced in RealPlayer 7 to let you know when there's something new to watch. A gleam will appear on the channel (shown to the left).

To see when your Channels were last updated, see the date or time next to Options. To update manually, click Options and select Update Headlines Now...

Real.com Message Service

RealPlayer can now keep you informed about events and information in several categories with the Real.com Message Service.

The Real.com Message Service is actually two services delivering different types of information: Real.com News and Entertainment Flashes and Real.com Product Flashes. You can choose to subscribe to either or both services when you install RealPlayer 7 Plus or change your subscriptions later in Preferences.

Real.com News and Entertainment Flashes

News and Entertainment Flashes alert you to breaking news and live concert events. You can change your subscription options in your Preferences (see Content Preferences).

Real.com Product Flashes

Product Flashes deliver RealPlayer Tips and Tricks and special offers from RealNetworks. You can change your subscription options in your Preferences (see Upgrade Preferences.

How do you know when you have received a Flash?

When you've received a Flash, RealPlayer will let you know in one of two ways:

  1. The RealPlayer icon in your Windows System Tray will glimmer. You change how this looks on the appropriate Preferences tab depending on the services you've selected. Click the icon in your Tool Tray to see the new Flash.
The Windows Tool Tray is where you see the time displayed (shown to the left).

  1. A Message bar will appear in your Player (see Figure 3-12: Message bar). The bar will let you know what sort of Flash you've received. For instance, if you see a light bulb with the words such as RealPlayer Tips and Tricks after it, you've received a Flash with information about how to use one of the many features of your Player. Just click the Message bar to see the new Flash.

Flashes will not interfere with your listening or viewing experience. You choose when to watch the Flash after it has arrived.

Live Stations

The Live Stations tab is built-in, one-stop shopping for Internet radio. RealPlayer comes stocked with over 100 stations pre-installed. As different Live Stations become available, RealNetworks will update your list automatically.

Click the Live Stations tab to change the view on your Content Panel (see also Figure 3-7: Live Stations).

Figure 4-4: Live Stations


RealNetworks automatically updates your Live Stations list so you always have the most accurate list possible of available content out on the Web.

Just double-click to open a folder that interests you then double-click the Station you wish to play.

For information about scanning Live Stations see the Playlist bar.

Live Stations offers you a current list of radio stations that are broadcasting on the Internet. Just like Channels, Live Stations are periodically refreshed with up-to-date information.

To Play a Station

  1. Open a category, or genre, of music by double-clicking the folder that interests you.

  2. Double-click the Station you wish to play or select the Station with a single click and then choose Play Live Station from the Options menu.

To Find a Station

Because RealNetworks gives you so many Stations to choose from in your Player, we've given you several ways to make finding what you want easier.

Sorting the whole list

  1. With the Live Stations tab open, click Options.

  2. Select Sort Stations.

  3. Choose how you would like your Stations List to be sorted (for example, by country of origin).

    Additional Information
    There are also more complex searches available. For example, the sort Genre/Country will sort the Stations list first by the Genre, or type, of music and then by the Country from which each Station is broadcast. So under each Genre folder you will see a folder for each Country. In each Country folder will be the list of Stations for that Genre.

Finding a Specific Station in RealPlayer 7

If you know the call letters (for example, KWPR) for a Station that you want to find or simply just want to find a Station based on its properties, you can use Find.

  1. With the Live Stations tab open, click Options.

  2. Select Find...

  3. Type your search criteria in the Search for: box ("KWPR" in the example above).

  4. Select to search only the Station titles (such as call letters) or all properties of the stations. Every Station has four searchable properties: country, language, bitrate, and genre.

    Additional Information
    To see the properties of any individual station, right- click the Station and select Properties.

  5. Click Find Next. RealPlayer will search all the Stations it currently has available in the Live Stations tab.

    Warning
    RealPlayer will search down in your Live Stations tab to the first Station that matches your criteria. If you want to search the whole list, highlight the top folder in your list before starting your search.

  6. When you come to a Station you want to listen to, double-click the Station to connect to it.

    Tip
    Not sure you have the latest Live Stations list? Update your list manually by clicking Update Stations list on the Options menu of the Live Stations tab.

Search bar

Figure 4-5: Search bar

Use Search just as you would to search for a Web page. Just type in words or phrases to find content on subjects you are interested in playing and then click Search.

Search will contact the Internet and look for clips that meet your Search criteria. The list of audio, video and other media clips it creates will be displayed in your browser. Just click on any of the resulting titles to listen to a clip.

Located on the right of your Search bar is the real.com button which will take you directly to the Real.com Guide, the most comprehensive media hub for free Internet audio and video software and programming. Find programming featured on the Internet and play it with one click. Choose from a comprehensive listing of downloadable music from Listen.com, personal calendars and access to premiere programming. More than 2,000 radio and television stations, 8,000 Web sites and 500 daily live events are offered.

Sharing Favorites

RealPlayer 7 Plus allows you to share Favorites with other RealPlayer G2 and RealPlayer 7 owners. Sharing is accomplished through the use of Exporting and Importing Favorites.

To Export a Favorite

  1. Select Organize Favorites... from the Options menu on your My Favorites tab.

  2. Click Export Favorite or Export Folder (depending on what you have selected in the Organize Favorites dialog).

    The Export Favorites dialog will open.

  3. Select a place on your hard disk to save the Favorite or folder of Favorites (also called a Favorites Pack) and give it a name.

  4. Click Save. The file will be created with an .RNX extension.

  5. E-mail the file to your friends. (The file should be mailed as a simple text file if you need to designate "file-type" in your mail program.)

    Tip
    If you want to quickly Export an entire Folder of Favorites, just select Export foldername from the Options menu on your My Favorites tab.

To Import a single Favorite or folder of Favorites (also called a Favorites Pack)

  1. Select Import from your Favorites menu.

  2. An Import Favorite dialog will open.

  3. Browse as you would with your Windows Explorer to where your mail program downloads files and select the Favorite to be imported (it will have an .RNX extension).

  4. Click Open.

  5. The Favorite will appear in your RealPlayer 7 Plus.

    Additional Information
    In the case of an individual Favorite you may find a new folder that matches the one it was exported from.

    Importing Favorites will not overwrite your existing Favorites, even if they have the same names or Folder names. Instead, same named Favorites will appear in your Player but may connect to different clips.

Location bar

The Location bar displays the URL, or address, of the currently loaded clip similar to the address bar in your Web browser and gives you browser-like control of your Player.

Figure 4-6: Location bar

The drop down Location list keeps track of the last 20 addresses you visited with your RealPlayer, even between sessions. A session starts when you launch RealPlayer and ends when you close it.

Back and Forward allow you to jump back and forth between the clips you were playing, also similar to your Web browser.

Playlist bar

The Playlist bar not only allows you to navigate multi-clips (a clip that contains other clips in sequence) it is also now equipped to Scan your Stations and Favorites.

Figure 4-7: Playlist bar

The Playlist bar will not open automatically unless you are playing a multi-clip. To open it at other times, use the View menu (View/Playlist).

Scanning

You may not always know exactly what you're in the mood to listen to or you may not be sure exactly what type of programming a Station carries. To help, RealPlayer 7 Plus has the ability to Scan Stations or to Scan Favorites so you can find the clips that interest you. The process is similar to using the scan feature of a car radio or stereo.

Scan Stations

RealPlayer Plus will Scan all of the Stations in the folder that is currently selected. Each clip will play for the time specified in your Preferences (see the Scan Time field in General Preferences).

  1. Open the Live Stations tab.

  2. Select a folder by clicking on it once.

  3. Open the Playlist bar (View/Playlist).

  4. Click Options on your Stations tab and select Scan Stations in `folder'.

When you find a Station that you want to continue listening to, click Scan on the Playlist bar again (turning it off) and the Station will continue playing without moving on to the next.

Scan Favorites

Scan Favorites is similar to Scan Stations but rather than scanning your existing Stations, Scan Favorites plays a small part of each Favorite in the selected folder.

When you find a Favorite that you want to continue listening to, click Scan on the Playlist bar again (turning it off) and that Favorite will continue to play without moving on to the next.

Resizing

RealPlayer 7 Plus is now manually resizable. Just hover your mouse over any corner or edge of RealPlayer, click, hold and drag to the size you would like to use.

To return to a specific size, use the Zoom control (see Figure 3-9: Display panel) or the Zoom menu item (View/Zoom) to select Original or Double size.

Warning
Macintosh users will only be able to resize from the bottom, right corner of their RealPlayer 7 Plus and will only see the familiar single-arrowed cursor.


Copyright © 2000 RealNetworks
For information on RealNetworks' technical support, click here.
This file last updated on 03/06/00 at 12:24:03.
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