RealNetworks Inc. continued its quest for domination of the media player market on Wednesday when Intel Corp. announced plans to include RealPlayer software on its forthcoming Dot.Station Web appliance.
Intel's Dot.Station is an Internet appliance aimed at households that do not own PCs. Due out later this year, the appliance will be equipped to perform all Internet functions, and can accommodate up to seven separate e-mail accounts, according to Intel. The addition of RealNetworks' RealPlayer software will allow users to access streaming audio and video on the Web.
Bundling has served industry front-runner RealNetworks well in its climb to the top of the media player industry. America Online Inc. (AOL) began bundling RealNetworks' software last July, which helped increase RealNetworks' reach among U.S. home Internet users by more than 47 percent in 2000 compared to the previous year, a recent study by Jupiter Media Metrix Inc. found. RealPlayer will be licensed to Intel and branded in every Dot.Station unit, said RealNetworks spokeswoman Kari Day. The deal with Intel makes sense for consumers because "more than 85 percent of the Internet's streaming audio and video is in Real format," Day said.
RealPlayer was selected over the competition because "it allows users to access and enjoy the most popular Web sites," said Marta Hasler, marketing manager for Intel's home products group.
AOL and Spain's largest bank, Avant, have formed a partnership to become the Dot.Station's first customer, Day said, adding that under the joint venture they will buy 250,000 units later this year.
Dot.Stations will be available for public purchase through service providers, who will set the cost based on bundling packages.