In a significant step forward for the online music market, RealNetworks today announced it is working together with Intel to make it easy for broadband-connected consumers to link their PC and homestereo systems and enjoy the award-winning Rhapsody digital music subscription service throughout their homes. Through these efforts, Rhapsody will soon be the first digital music service to enableconsumers to control and listen to the service in their living room. Consumers will be able to access Rhapsody’s wide-ranging library of more than 30,000 CDs and build a single, vast library of musicthat’s accessible both on their PC and through high-fidelity home stereo and home theater systems.
The new service offering is made possible through Intel’s Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) Authoring Tools, which RealNetworks has used to integrate support for UPnP home networking technology into the current version of Rhapsody. As a result, Rhapsody is now capable of communicating with a new generation of digital audio products that enable consumers to access music from their PC via their stereo and home theater systems. These products include the latest version of the Omnifi from Rockford Corporation, which is expected to ship with Rhapsody support beginning November 14, 2003, and a number of devices from other manufacturers that are expected to ship in the coming weeks.
“We believe that the combination of broadband, Rhapsody and UPnP technology gives consumers what they have been looking for: the ability to listen to any music anywhere in their home,” said Sean Ryan, vice president of music services, RealNetworks. “Intel’s tools helped Real quickly and efficiently deploy a high-quality UPnP solution that makes our vision of accessing Rhapsody content anywhere in the house a reality.”
“Intel offers the tools, the technology and the vision necessary to usher in the next wave of online music, and we’re happy to be working with a company that shares that vision,” said Louis Burns, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Desktop Platforms Group. “RealNetworks’ Rhapsody gives consumer electronics manufacturers a powerful service that demonstrates the potential for UPnP technologies to change the way consumers interact with and consume digital entertainment and content.”
RealNetworks’ technology ensures that consumers enjoy unlimited remote access to their entire Rhapsody library while still honoring copyrights. Only home audio components that implement UPnP technology and include Rhapsody’s security enhancements can bring the Rhapsody experience to the digital home.
RealNetworks’ goal is to make Rhapsody compatible with all new, UPnP-compliant devices coming to market in the next year, giving consumer electronics companies a compelling service that can make these new devices more attractive and valuable to consumers. In keeping with this goal, earlier this year RealNetworks joined the UPnP Forum, an association of more than 500 companies from a variety of consumer industries working to develop interoperable specifications and standards for easy-to-use home networking.
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