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RealNetworks Says Files Can Play on iPod

Reply #25
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Apple seems pretty upset, they acused Real of using "tactics and ethics of a hacker" (pretty harsh words to company that they had planned to form an alliance with).  Anyways Apple says that they plan to block Real's Harmony access to the iPod in future iPod and iTunes updates.
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Making publicity about it will only impact their sales

RealNetworks Says Files Can Play on iPod

Reply #26
I'm not a big fan of Real's software but I'm taking their side on this issue. People should be able to put whetever they want on their iPod.

RealNetworks Says Files Can Play on iPod

Reply #27
this mess is caused because mpeg wasnt fast enough to develop their drm system

if it would have been far earlier available, i am sure apple would have used it and this incompatibility problems would be somehow obsolete and every company not following iso standards could be easily blamed
I know, that I know nothing (Socrates)

RealNetworks Says Files Can Play on iPod

Reply #28
Legal ramifications aside, what's Apple huffing and puffing for? The can't possibly be afraid that they will lose the couple of pennies they make on each iTMS song to Real.

The way I see it, having other services that allow transfer of music to the iPod will only sell more iPods. If the iPod could play WMA music, for example, it would work with just about any service out there, which would (probably) increase sales of Ipods. Does this make any sense?

RealNetworks Says Files Can Play on iPod

Reply #29
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Does this make any sense?
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For control freaks like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, yes.

RealNetworks Says Files Can Play on iPod

Reply #30
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this mess is caused because mpeg wasnt fast enough to develop their drm system


I do not think that developing a DRM system would fit in the current mpeg scopes. Specifying parts that could be used as a PORTION of a drm system, probably.

RealNetworks Says Files Can Play on iPod

Reply #31
Thanks for everyone's support, including this long thread on slashdot!

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I noticed something very interesting on the news release. It stated that now REAL will be able to be played on a variety of MP3 players, including the iPod, where previously the only compatible player was the Creative Nomad Zen Xtra. REAL uses 192 kbps AAC right? Since when can the Nomad Xtra play AAC, or REAL files????
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I have been told there is a firmware update for the Zen Xtra available from Real, that includes AAC. However, this is only AAC wrapped in RM. You will have to ask Creative why they are not offering AAC for everyone...

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Hopefully this will put pressure on Apple to up the bitrate for the iTMS
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Note that Apple's AAC encoder is a lot better than Real's. I wouldn't be so sure that Real offers higher quality files until I see it tested.
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I encourage anyone who has any doubt whether 192 kbps AAC from the Coding Technologies encoder Real licensed, has higher sound quality than that of 128 kbps AAC from iTunes, to test for themselves. It is very easy:
  • RealPlayer and Helix Producer both come with free AAC encoding at all bitrates, encode your own test songs
  • Or purchase the same song from both stores and compare.
Sr. Codec Engineer (video) | RealNetworks Codec Group | helixcommunity.org 
This information is provided "AS IS" with no warranties,  grants no rights, and reflects my personal opinion.

RealNetworks Says Files Can Play on iPod

Reply #32
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if it would have been far earlier available, i am sure apple would have used it and this incompatibility problems would be somehow obsolete and every company not following iso standards could be easily blamed
But if the DRM would be a ISO standard, everybody would know how it works and it could be easily decrypted (just like apple´s DRM can be decrypted already with hymn/fairplay)

That would mean if you can DRM-transmux Real´s DRM into Apple´s DRM you can also decrypt it to plain un-DRMed mp4.

But for me this is no option, since in Germany iTunes is the only available online music store. And I would never buy Music that is DRMed. I already bought one song with iTunes, decrypted with hymn, plays perfect in foobar2000 (and of course every other mp4-supporting player).

But even if I could use the Real Store, is the quality really better? (Remember this) You cannot say RealVideo 10 400kbps and Indeo 5 600kbps, 600kbps is higher, so quality is better. Roberto´s test showed Real didn´t licensed the best technology. I still do not understand why they didn´t have used Vorbis, it would have cost them nothing at all! Of course the difference RV10 / Indeo5 is much bigger than between those two AAC codecs, it would be interesting to have a "Music Store Listening Test", to compare the used codecs at the used bitrate/settings in the music store.

But I´ll first start using internet music stores regulary when a) lossless compression is used, b) no DRM and c) acceptable price (99 cent one song is far too much).

RealNetworks Says Files Can Play on iPod

Reply #33
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this mess is caused because mpeg wasnt fast enough to develop their drm system


I do not think that developing a DRM system would fit in the current mpeg scopes. Specifying parts that could be used as a PORTION of a drm system, probably.
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dont they work on drm already?
I know, that I know nothing (Socrates)

RealNetworks Says Files Can Play on iPod

Reply #34
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Does this make any sense?
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It sort of does, because:
- Apple is free to deny Real a license to use their DRM system.
- If Apple updates the DRM system in a way that kills Real's unlicensed implementation, who will get the angry costumer calls or the returned iPods because 'it cannot play my tunes'.
"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you."

RealNetworks Says Files Can Play on iPod

Reply #35
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I didn't feel like buying a song from Real to test out that aspect. It'd be nice if they had a free song available I could test with. iTunes have the free song of the week, which comes in handy for that sort of thing.
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Good idea. I have forwarded in the right direction.
Sr. Codec Engineer (video) | RealNetworks Codec Group | helixcommunity.org 
This information is provided "AS IS" with no warranties,  grants no rights, and reflects my personal opinion.

RealNetworks Says Files Can Play on iPod

Reply #36
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I have been told there is a firmware update for the Zen Xtra available from Real, that includes AAC. However, this is only AAC wrapped in RM. You will have to ask Creative why they are not offering AAC for everyone...


That is pretty cool for Nomad Zen Xtra owners - 3 compressed file formats handles by the player (MP3, WMA, AAC wrapped in RM).

RealNetworks Says Files Can Play on iPod

Reply #37
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- If Apple updates the DRM system in a way that kills Real's unlicensed implementation, who will get the angry costumer calls or the returned iPods because 'it cannot play my tunes'.
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I think Real would get these calls, they are the ones promising the tunes will work.  Many companies now will not take back opened electronics anyway, unless there is a manufacturing defect.

RealNetworks Says Files Can Play on iPod

Reply #38
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It's quite possible the result of such a test would be: undecided


How can you say that? This is a listening test testing Apple's and Real's AAC at 128kbps only. Now you try to compare 128kbps Apple AAC with 192kbps Real AAC. You can't extrapolate and you can't make any other conclusions from this test. And I thought at least here at HA you should have a proper listening test or at least some ABX results before making such a claim. 

RealNetworks Says Files Can Play on iPod

Reply #39
I'm confused.  Doesn't RealPlayer 10 and iTunes use the exact same codec when creating AAC files; only the container is different?

RealNetworks Says Files Can Play on iPod

Reply #40
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I'm confused.  Doesn't RealPlayer 10 and iTunes use the exact same codec when creating AAC files; only the container is different?
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No.

From: [a href="http://www.codingtechnologies.com/news/index.htm#]Coding Technologies | news[/url]
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January 07, 2004: RealNetworks Licenses Technology and Software from Coding Technologies for MPEG-4 AAC / aacPlus.
more >> | mehr >>
>> full press release as pdf in english | german | swedish


Could you have possibly confused the meaning of Codec?

Apple - MPEG-4
"The AAC codec in QuickTime 6 builds upon new, state-of-the art signal processing technology from Dolby Laboratories and brings true variable bit rate (VBR) audio encoding to QuickTime." from Apple - MPEG-4 - AAC Audio (for whatever that is worth)

I believe Apple's AAC encoder was developed in-house, but I'm far from being the expert. I'd be surprised if the answer had not been discussed at least once at HA though.

Hope this helps, tec

RealNetworks Says Files Can Play on iPod

Reply #41
Real and Apple use the same compressed music format or 'codec' format: in both cases AAC, but the actual encoders doing the compression to this format are supplied by different providers. It is my understanding Apple licensed theirs from Dolby and did in-house tuning. Real licensed from Coding Technologies, which based theirs on code from Fraunhofer, the main inventors of AAC. In essence, the format is interoperable, meaning that any AAC decoder can interpret both, but the DRM protection is not. Real uses Helix DRM, while Apple uses what is called FairPlay. Real was able to create a method to transmux the Helix DRM protection losslessly to a DRM that is compatible with the DRM used by the iPod. In practice this means that you can purchase an AAC file from the Real Music store at the highest bitrate available from any music store, 192 kbps AAC, and load it onto your iPod, without any loss in quality, since RealPlayer 10.5 with Harmony technology is able to interoperate with the protection scheme used by the iPod portable music players. What will happen is a simple transmux operation from one DRM scheme to another, without any loss in audio quality.
Sr. Codec Engineer (video) | RealNetworks Codec Group | helixcommunity.org 
This information is provided "AS IS" with no warranties,  grants no rights, and reflects my personal opinion.

RealNetworks Says Files Can Play on iPod

Reply #42
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only the container is different?

next to what karl lillevold said, also the container is different

the aac audio format is defined in the mpeg-4 standard, and the mpeg-4 standard also defines the container format, which is also known as .mp4/.m4a
aple uses the official mpeg-4 container format

real uses its own .ra container, so this is also harming the interoperability
I know, that I know nothing (Socrates)

RealNetworks Says Files Can Play on iPod

Reply #43
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only the container is different?

next to what karl lillevold said, also the container is different

the aac audio format is defined in the mpeg-4 standard, and the mpeg-4 standard also defines the container format, which is also known as .mp4/.m4a
aple uses the official mpeg-4 container format

real uses its own .ra container, so this is also harming the interoperability
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Not quite true. The default container format when encoding in AAC in RealPlayer 10 is the official mpeg-4 container format (M4A), fully interoperable and standards-compliant. Only in the first beta of RealPlayer 10 long ago, did it output in RA, because the M4A support was not yet completed.
Sr. Codec Engineer (video) | RealNetworks Codec Group | helixcommunity.org 
This information is provided "AS IS" with no warranties,  grants no rights, and reflects my personal opinion.

RealNetworks Says Files Can Play on iPod

Reply #44
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Not quite true. The default container format when encoding in AAC in RealPlayer 10 is the official mpeg-4 container format (M4A), fully interoperable and standards-compliant. Only in the first beta of RealPlayer 10 long ago, did it output in RA, because the M4A support was not yet completed

of course, but we were mainly talking about drm (meaning files from the music stores), and there it shouldnt be forgotten that the container also causes incompatibilities

its indeed good that realplayer by default rips to .mp4
I know, that I know nothing (Socrates)

RealNetworks Says Files Can Play on iPod

Reply #45
bond: you are right. when music stores add DRM on top of any container format, interoperability is generally lost. For instance, before RealPlayer 10.5 introduced Harmony, iPod users were forced to use only one music store.
Sr. Codec Engineer (video) | RealNetworks Codec Group | helixcommunity.org 
This information is provided "AS IS" with no warranties,  grants no rights, and reflects my personal opinion.

RealNetworks Says Files Can Play on iPod

Reply #46
Sorry for the dumb questions, but:

1. How do you get your Harmony-purchased music into iTunes?
2. How can you burn your Harmony-puchased music to CD?
3. Can you mix Harmony and iTunes Music Stores music on the same CD?
4. Does Harmony work on Macs?

Frank

RealNetworks Says Files Can Play on iPod

Reply #47
1. By somehow circumventing the its DRM.
2. Using Real Player.
3. If you get them to same burning program.

RealNetworks Says Files Can Play on iPod

Reply #48
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Sorry for the dumb questions, but:
1. How do you get your Harmony-purchased music into iTunes?
2. How can you burn your Harmony-puchased music to CD?
3. Can you mix Harmony and iTunes Music Stores music on the same CD?
4. Does Harmony work on Macs?
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1. You can't. Well.. That's not entirely true. If you use Harmony to send the purchased music to an iPod, you can then use a program who's name I will not mention as it's against the rules here. This program will produce unencrypted M4A files, which you can then use in iTunes or anywhere else. The program was created to convert iTunes Music Store purchased music, but it will work with Real's Helix DRM after Harmony converts it to FairPlay DRM. How to get it to work is not exactly obvious, however.

Without this method, it cannot be done, yet. You can't get the DRM key into the iTunes keyring, so iTunes cannot play the resulting M4P files. I think. I admit that I have not tried this yet.

2. Using Real's software.

3. I believe RealPlayer/Harmony can read iTunes purchased music as well, so you can bring everything into Real and burn it from there.

4. I think they have a Mac version on the way, if it's not released yet.

RealNetworks Says Files Can Play on iPod

Reply #49
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Real was able to create a method to transmux the Helix DRM protection losslessly to a DRM that is compatible with the DRM used by the iPod. In practice this means that you can purchase an AAC file from the Real Music store at the highest bitrate available from any music store, 192 kbps AAC, and load it onto your iPod, without any loss in quality, since RealPlayer 10.5 with Harmony technology is able to interoperate with the protection scheme used by the iPod portable music players. What will happen is a simple transmux operation from one DRM scheme to another, without any loss in audio quality.
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Karl,

Glad to see a representative from Real participating on the forum and I hope Harmony is a huge success.  I was wondering if you could give some more details as to how AAC files with Helix DRM are translated into protected WMA files.  I'm assuming that this would not be a lossess process but rather an additional re-compression/re-encoding step since a different codec is involved.  Thanks!

 
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