RealVideo is a proprietary video codec developed by RealNetworks. It was first released in 1997 and as of 2004 is at version 10.
RealVideo has historically been used to deliver streaming video across IP networks at low bit rates to desktop personal computers. Today's prevalence of broadband is seeing RealVideo put to even greater use as bigger pipes allow video to be encoded at higher bitrates resulting in increased quality and clarity.
With mobile carriers starting to offer data services to customers with enabled handsets, it enables consumers to watch video on their mobile phones, be it today's news highlights or even live television.
RealVideo differs from conventional video codecs in that it has been optimized for streaming via the proprietary PNA protocol or the newer standardized Real Time Streaming Protocol. It can be used for download and play (dubbed on-demand), or for live streaming.
RealVideo is usually paired with RealAudio and packaged in a RealMedia (.rm) container. The main desktop media player for RealMedia content is RealNetworks' RealPlayer, currently at version 10. The open source program MPlayer can also play these files and streams.
With RealPlayer, it is not possible to save RealVideo streams to a file; MPlayer and StreamBox VCR can be used for this purpose.