SAN FRANCISCO, July 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --
RealNetworks(R), Inc. (Nasdaq: RNWK), the global leader in Internet media
delivery, today announced Helix(TM), the first open, comprehensive platform
and community to enable creation of digital media products and applications
for any format, operating system or device.
The Helix Platform is based on the industry's most powerful and widely
used digital media software technology, with over 1,000 application
interfaces. The Helix Community will enable companies, institutions and
individual developers to access the Helix Platform source code in order to
both enhance the Helix Platform and to build Helix-powered encoder, server and
client products. In tandem, the Helix Platform and the Helix Community will
provide the standard infrastructure to empower developers, IT companies and CE
companies to drive the Internet media industry forward into the future.
"Today is a watershed day for Internet Media Delivery. Since we
introduced RealAudio(R), the world's first Internet streaming system 7 years
ago, the industry has been asking for a comprehensive and open platform that
it could standardize and build on. Today, we are fulfilling that longstanding
wish with the announcement of the Helix Platform and the formation of the
Helix Community," said Rob Glaser, founder and CEO, RealNetworks.
Twenty-nine companies and organizations are supporting the Helix
Community: BSquare, CollabNet, Cisco, Hitachi, HP, Intel, Lindows, nCUBE,
NEC, Network Appliance, Nokia, Openwave, Opera, Oracle, PalmSource, Phoenix
Technologies, Pinnacle Systems, Red Hat, Sony Corporation, Speedera, Sprint,
ST Microsystems, Sun Microsystems, Symbian, Tao Group, Texas Instruments,
TiVO, Volera and Xiph.org Foundation.
"Just like RealNetworks, HP has always offered our customers the widest
choice of operating systems and hardware platforms for media delivery
-- ranging from our handhelds to the best performing media server platforms,"
said Nigel Ball, vice president, HP Enterprise Solutions Partners. "We
applaud the Helix source code initiative, as well as its extensible open media
platform that gives companies and individuals more flexibility."
"Sun has a long-standing commitment to leading, supporting and
participating in the community's open standards efforts," said Mark Tolliver,
executive vice president, Marketing and Strategy, Chief Strategy Officer Sun
Microsystems, Inc. "RealNetworks' Helix Community process and its
standards-based approach to streaming media solutions is proof that 'open' is
a viable and commercially feasible option. We are working with RealNetworks
to support streaming delivery infrastructure with the Java(TM)
technology-based Sun(TM) Open Net Environment to support the development of
flexible and easily integrated media applications and services."
"The Helix initiative highlights openness and interoperable technologies
as a key factors in digital media delivery. Nokia has worked closely with
RealNetworks for many years, and we have together built the pioneering mobile
media streaming solutions. Through our cooperation, we have witnessed how
digital media delivery technologies are moving away from proprietary and
towards open solutions, which are prerequisite for successful future mobile
services," said Pertti Korhonen, Executive Vice President, Nokia Mobile
RealNetworks also announced today that it has released a family of
products built on the Helix Platform, including the Helix Universal Server
(see related press release).
Helix Addresses Industry Challenges
As the leader in IP media delivery since 1995, RealNetworks well
understands that there are several key challenges faced by the digital media
industry. These include: the cost and complexity of supporting multiple
formats and architectures; the cost of developing applications in the absence
of standardized application interfaces; and the looming increase of these
complexities as Internet-delivered media moves beyond the PC to mobile and
RealNetworks is meeting these challenges through the Helix Platform and
Helix Community. The Helix Platform is the next generation of the software
engine that has powered RealNetworks' massively popular server and player
products for several years, as well as a set of more than 1,000 application
programming interfaces for building media applications. The core Helix DNA
engine which has been in development for over 7 years, contains millions of
lines of code and is the next generation of the system that has been deployed
on hundreds of thousands of servers and millions of PCs worldwide.
Via the Helix Community, developers and technology companies will gain
access to millions of lines of source code providing a wide variety of
capabilities needed to build digital media products, such as live and
on-demand streaming, local and remote playback of digital media, and the
ability to add new media formats and data types.
"By using Helix's media application platform with Oracle9i Application
Server, customers will be able to integrate rich media into their
enterprise-class business applications and access it through fixed and
wireless Internet devices," said Thomas Kurian, senior vice president,
Oracle9i Application Server, Oracle Corporation. "The combination of the
Helix media platform and Oracle9i Application Server's advanced multi-channel
delivery capabilities will provide a secure, scalable platform for media-rich
"The Helix initiative will provide our Palm Platform developer community
the ability to bring new and innovative media products to Palm Powered(R)
devices, leveraging the RealNetworks' technologies," said David Nagel,
President and CEO of PalmSource. "We expect that this will accelerate the use
of streaming media applications in future mobile devices."
Source Code Licensing
The Helix Community, located at www.helixcommunity.org, will offer two
license structures -- the RealNetworks Community Source License (RCSL) or the
RealNetworks Public Source License (RPSL). Drafts of both licenses are
available today on the Helix Community website. The full Helix DNA source
code offering, which provides a complete implementation of over 1000 Helix
APIs and source code for the core Helix encoder, server and client, will be
licensed under the RCSL. The RCSL is structured to ensure that all products
built under the RCSL remain compatible with the Helix interfaces.
The RPSL is structured to provide developers greater flexibility in their
use of the source code with the requirement that the products they build from
it are also open source. The first Helix DNA component to be available under
the RPSL will be the Helix DNA Client. RealNetworks welcomes comments on the
RPSL and RCSL from interested parties. After incorporating input from third
parties, RealNetworks will submit the RPSL to Open Source Initiative (OSI) for
certification as an open source license.
RealNetworks intends to make initial client source code -- the Helix DNA
Client -- available to the Helix Community within 90 days. This will promptly
be followed by server and encoder source code by the end of the year.
As the inventor of streaming audio and video over the Internet and the leading
innovator in this industry, RealNetworks is also licensing to the Helix
Community several key patents and pending applications that RealNetworks
believes are essential for streaming media content over a network.
Participants under the RPSL will enjoy royalty-free patent licenses, and
participants under the RCSL will gain patent rights under the royalty schedule
associated with the RCSL.
"It's great to see RealNetworks recognizing the power of open source,"
said Eric S. Raymond, president of the Open Source Initiative. "They'll get
the reliability and security benefits of peer review, and they are
contributing an important capability to the Internet infrastructure."
Industry Support for Helix
"With this announcement, RealNetworks is making a tremendous commitment to
build and participate in what will become a large developer community around
media player and server software," said Brian Behlendorf, president of the
Apache Software Foundation and CTO, CollabNet. "We applaud their commitment
to embrace Open Source in a deep and meaningful way."
Hitachi America, Ltd.
"Streaming music and video is a key requirement for next-generation mobile
phones where our SH-Mobile Application Processor is targeted," said
Eiichi Amada, senior vice president and CTO, Hitachi America, Ltd. "We are
pleased to be teaming up with RealNetworks -- a leader in this technology --
to enable new services."
"Battery-efficient multimedia is a key characteristic of the Intel
Personal Internet Client Architecture (Intel PCA)," said Mark Casey, director
of marketing for Intel's PCA Component's Group. "We believe having Helix
running on Intel(R) Xscale(TM) technology will be of great interest to Intel
"nCUBE is the only company to offer cable and broadband network operators
comprehensive management systems for advanced on-demand television services,"
said Michael Pohl, president and chief executive officer, nCUBE Corporation.
"nCUBE is excited for the opportunity to deliver highly scalable IP streaming
solutions to multiple networks from a single platform, and we applaud
RealNetworks for their Helix Initiative that will allow industry leaders to
standardize on a common media delivery architecture."
"Openwave recognizes RealNetworks' leadership in multimedia streaming and
we applaud its open source approach to mobile audio and video," said
Thomas Reardon, vice president of technology for Openwave. "As a market leader
in mobile browsers, we look forward to working with the Helix Community to
make it easier for handset manufacturers to integrate audio and video into
next generation mobile phones."
"It is only natural that media application servers should benefit from the
legendary reliability and performance of Linux," said Mike Evans, VP of
Business Development of Red Hat. "We applaud RealNetworks for opening up its
technologies and starting the Helix Community to enable the creation of
innovative open source media applications."
"Under the Ubiquitous 'Value' Network strategy, Sony aims to create a
secure, user-friendly environment where people can enjoy a wide variety of
online digital media contents via various networked CE devices and PCs. We
believe the Helix Community will create this valuable environment where people
have easy access to exciting digital content regardless of media format," said
Masao Hori, Deputy President of Network & Software Technology Center of Sony
Corporation. "As a CE industry leader and with our unmatched experience in
meeting customer needs, Sony, together with other world-class participating
companies, seeks to make the kind of contributions that will ensure this
initiative generates consumer-oriented benefits."
"Sprint clearly has a history of supporting open development communities
that drive valuable content for its wireless customers. As the launch of the
Sprint Third Generation Network this summer provides us a platform for new and
enhanced applications, we support the idea and intent of the Helix Community
to foster a thriving environment that could potentially lead to content
applications for future services," said Paul Reddick, vice president of
business development for the PCS division, Sprint.
"Symbian is providing the open, standard operating system for the emerging
generation of advanced mobile phones," said David Wood, executive vice
president, Symbian. "We are a strong supporter of collaborative community
software initiatives, and are delighted to see how Helix, offered by
RealNetworks, builds upon and extends existing open standards. We expect the
Helix Community, in conjunction with Symbian OS, to drive flexible and
enchanting multimedia-rich applications on mobile devices."
"TI's OMAP platform enables rapid development of 2.5G and 3G wireless
devices and multimedia-enhanced applications," said Paul Werp, worldwide
marketing director for TI's OMAP platform. "Helix provides OMAP developers and
customers with a media application framework that allows them to reach a wide
audience while simplifying and lowering development costs."
"TiVo is pleased to support Helix and we believe that Helix Community
source code has the potential to drive the adoption of exciting new
entertainment options that can be easily enjoyed on products such as the TiVo
DVR," said Howard Look, vice president TiVo Developer Studios. "TiVo has
always been focused on providing consumers with the best entertainment
experience, allowing our subscribers the ability to watch the TV programs they
want on their schedules today and to experience other forms of digital media
in their living rooms in the future. RealNetworks' Helix initiative shows a
shared vision towards this future."
"The Helix initiative is an interesting opportunity for the open source
community," said Emmett Plant, CEO, Xiph.org Foundation. "By offering the
protocol engine to the open source community, RealNetworks is taking the first
real step in making an investment in open technologies, and that's exciting.
It's not often that an industry leader gives people the opportunity to have a
say in the future of an interoperability standard. Looking beyond the
immediate advantage of being able to take an active role in the Helix
Platform, it will also be interesting to see what new and exciting things the
open source community will be able to build with this new code."
Helix is a platform and a community for the standardization and expansion
of digital media. The Helix Platform consists of source code for creation,
delivery and playback of digital media developed by RealNetworks over the past
eight years, as well as a set of interfaces for building media-enabled
applications. Helix Community members will be able to use this source code to
build media-capable products with industry-leading technology and commonly
used interfaces. The Helix Community offers source code of the Helix Platform
under community and open source licenses. RealNetworks has also released a
family of products built on top of the Helix Platform, including the Helix
RealNetworks, Inc. is the global leader in Internet media delivery. It
develops and markets software products and services designed to enable users
of personal computers and consumer electronic devices to send and receive
audio, video and other multimedia services using the Web. Consumers can access
and experience audio/video programming and download RealNetworks' consumer
software on the Internet at http://www.real.com . RealNetworks' systems and
corporate information is located on the Internet at
NOTE: RealNetworks, RealAudio and Helix are trademarks or registered
trademarks of RealNetworks, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of
their respective owners.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks
and uncertainties, including statements relating to the potential impact of
the Helix platform and community on the digital media industry, and the
benefits to be derived from Helix. Actual results may differ materially from
the results predicted. Factors that could cause actual results to differ from
the results predicted include the risks associated with the acceptance and use
of Helix by developers and emergence of a developer community around digital
media, whether the industry accepts Helix as the industry standard, whether
Helix will help accelerate the use of streaming media applications, whether
developers can benefit from and monetize their use of Helix, whether Helix
helps solve the technology and financial challenges faced by the industry, and
whether Helix can continue to evolve as the industry standard in the future.
More information about potential risk factors that could affect RealNetworks'
business and financial results is included in RealNetworks' annual report on
Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2001, and its quarterly report on
Form 10-Q for the periods ended March 31, 2002 and June 30, 2002, and from
time to time in other reports filed by RealNetworks with the Securities and
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SOURCE RealNetworks, Inc.