We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Real Alternative review

FREE

Manufacturer: KL Software

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

Avoid installing the RealPlayer to play RealMedia files; install the free Real Alternative CODEC instead.

Avoid installing the RealPlayer to play RealMedia files; install the free Real Alternative CODEC instead.

The story of Real Alternative (free) is one you may have heard before. Once upon a time, the only way to play RealMedia files was to download the free or pay RealPlayer and install it. This wouldn't have been so bad if RealNetworks hadn't made such a fuss about selling you a more capable version or constantly reinserting itself into the boot chain and system tray. Even worse, at one point the RealPlayer proved vulnerable to files that would open your browser and send you to a website - and exceedingly dangerous behaviour.

All of this proved too much for too many users, and the RealMedia codecs have slipped mightily in popularity. That said, you still run across the occasional .rm or .ra file - and if you want to play them in your browser or WMP and many other popular media players without installing the Real Player, you'll want the Real Alternative codec.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

Digital Home Advisor

Real Alternative Expert Verdict »
Windows XP, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, Windows 7
DirectX 7 or higher
6MB hard disk space
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

We've been using Real Alternative for years. It works well and is 100 percent transparent, that is, it doesn't bug you about anything, ever. It just registers itself as a DirectShow filter (Microsoft-speak for a codec) and with your browsers, then decodes virtually any Real Media file ever created. It's good enough that we haven't even considered installing RealPlayer in years.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
  • RealPlayer review

    RealPlayer

    RealPlayer, the venerable (if oft-maligned) multimedia playback software is back with a new beta. With the latest version of the software, it's number 14 but is simply being called RealPlayer, RealNetworks has enhanced the player's mobile capabilities, smartly taking aim at Android, BlackBerry and Nokia phones that lack the native media syncing solution that Apple's iPhone and iPod enjoy with iTunes.

  • RealPlayer Plus review

    RealPlayer Plus

    RealPlayer Plus offer enhanced mobile capabilities, smartly taking aim at Android, BlackBerry and Nokia phones, which lack the native media-synching function that Apple's iPhone and iPod enjoy with iTunes. We tested the Plus version of the app.

  • RealPlayer 11.0 beta

    In its upcoming RealPlayer 11.0 release RealNetworks is taking a serious stab at integrating features that let you save and organise web videos to your PC and also burn those videos to CD and DVDs. UPDATE: Real Player fully released on 28 June 2007

  • ArcSoft MediaConverter 4 review

    ArcSoft MediaConverter 4

    ArcSoft MediaConverter 4 is an easy-to-use video transcoder that's tailored for output to handheld devices.

  • Anewsoft MP3 Recorder review

    Anewsoft MP3 Recorder

    Go beyond Window's built-in sound recorder with Anewsoft MP3 Recorder software. You can record from a variety of inputs, including microphones and telephones.


IDG UK Sites

Moto G2 (2014) vs Moto E comparison review: New Moto G is worth the extra cash

IDG UK Sites

Is Apple losing confidence in itself?

IDG UK Sites

Oculus Rift 'Crescent Bay' prototype hands-on: it's an amazing experience

IDG UK Sites

How (and where) to buy an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus in the UK. Plus: What to do if you pre-ordered...