HITS Daily Double
"We can send Web pages through our Real server into the player window and that’s the direction we’re going. This is the Real system on crack."
—Winston Barta, Global Media


RealNetworks' Hybrid Player Views Web Pages
What do you call a media player that views Web pages?

If you said the "B" word—as in "browser"—you could be right. And a hybrid multimedia application that plays audio and video files and allows access to Web browsing is just what streaming-media champ Real Networks has devised.

In a special version of its player designed for multimedia portal Global Media, Real has incorporated an open-source browser code (made available by Mozilla.org)—allowing Global's mutant Real player to view Web pages. Which leads to one question: is Real "coming" for Microsoft?

After soundly thrashing competitor Netscape in the browser derby, bill gates',390,400);">bill gates',390,400);">Bill Gates and his minions have remained unchallenged with their Internet Explorer (which even has a spiffy new version for Macintosh users). Although MS' dominance in the field led in part to the Justice Department's crackdown and the likely breakup of the company, no one has stepped up with a noteworthy browser alternative.

But given Gates' and CEO Steve Ballmer's determination to beat Real at the streaming game and to inject multimedia capabilities into Explorer, the Global Real player suggests an even more feisty contest down the line.

"Everybody talks about whether or not Real Networks is trying to be a media player or a browser, but that doesn't concern me," Global's VP of Business Development Winston Barta told CNET. "We can send Web pages through our Real server into the player window and that's the direction we're going. This is the Real system on crack."

Smokin', Winston. Will Gates and company get "on the pipe," too? We'll get our crack investigative team on that one.