RealPlayer 7 and Destiny Media Player

Your computer has doubled as a CD player for a long time. But now, with the growing number of media players that can tune into Internet radio, it may soon replace your radio. Two of the free media players making this possible are RealPlayer 7 and Destiny Media Player.

RealPlayer

RealPlayer 7 is probably the most popular streaming media player. It is readily accessible as a download and is also available from ISPs and in various software and hardware bundles. It delivers both streaming audio and video over the Internet and plays the most popular downloadable multimedia formats, including MP3 and WAV. You can watch the newest film trailers or listen to a radio broadcast out of the U.K. For those new to the world of online media, RealPlayer 7 provides tutorials as well as a helpful "tip of the day."

In addition to streaming audio and video, RealPlayer 7 also functions as an Internet radio player, streaming hundreds of general interest channels from international news to the latest in sports, entertainment, and technology. You'll find that RealPlayer can tune into the radio broadcasts of familiar stations such as ABC, CNN, and Comedy Central. Unfortunately, half of its interface is also covered with colorful ads for these channels. Despite Real's commercial bent, RealPlayer can still tune into non-commercial channels, such as college radio stations, that stream over the Internet.

The Alternative

Destiny Media Player

Destiny Media Technologies offers a commercial-free option for an audio-hungry audience, playing both MP3s and streaming audio. Destiny Media Player has an interface that looks like a home stereo and is just as easy to use. One notable feature is the "Update Library" button, which instantly searches out downloaded MP3s on your hard drive.

RadioDestiny is the name given to the network of radio stations that can be accessed using Destiny Media Player. Users who wish to contribute can download the free RadioDestiny Broadcaster and use it to create their own radio stations on the Internet. Stations on the RadioDestiny network play a variety of genres, including new age and progressive music. RadioDestiny also makes available such oddities as Japanese Top 40 music and a station that contains only a voice repeating "Doh!" in dramatic outbursts. The mix of stations is always evolving as a result of the do-it-yourself nature of the network.

Tuning into RadioDestiny can be difficult, however, because the number of listeners that can connect at any given time is limited. Therefore, users will encounter timing out errors.

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