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Helix Player Needs More Cooking Time
March 8, 2004
I've never really been satisfied with the slate of streaming media players for Linux. I'm thinking specifically of the one from RealNetworks. Okay, to get down to cases, I think Real Player for Linux sucks.
The proprietary codecs pose problems of their own, but it is the player that really sent me over the edge. The interface is plain, albeit functional; performance is, well, lackluster (my grandmother was slow, but she was old); the audio and video quality compare unfavorably to the equivalent offering for other platforms; and support is worse than hit or miss.
I've spent the past few days with Helix Player for Linux, and my opinion of the Real technology, repackaged as Helix DNA, has changed. Read on to see why.
Helix Player for Linux is an open source community project, sponsored by or in association with Real, to create a high quality, universal digital media player. It contains both a standalone player application and browser plugin. Strictly speaking, Helix Player is a graphical interface to the Helix DNA Client. Helix is, to quote the blurb on the Helix Community Web page, "a collaborative effort among Real, independent developers, and leading companies to extend the Helix DNA platform, the first open multi-format platform for digital media creation, delivery and playback."
In addition to the player product, Helix Player, the Helix community is also working on a server component, Helix DNA Server; a digital media production application, Helix DNA Producer; and the RealAudio and RealVideo codecs. I'll look at the the other Helix DNA projects in future reviews or articles.