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RealNetworks, which has been trying to turn around its business, is launching a new player and cloud service tonight called RealPlayer Cloud.
The product – aimed at private one-to-one sharing for personal and non-DRM videos – is launching apps across several platforms, including Google Android, Apple iPhone and iPad, PC, Roku and the Web.
The service is aimed at a still-vexing problem for many consumers of easily moving, storing and watching their videos on the myriad of devices that have cropped up over the past several years. While there have been numerous and interoperable photo services available, that has not been true for more complicated videos.
“People still have no confidence that they can play their videos easily across devices,” said RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser in an interview, who noted that video usage had still exploded. “We see it as an important problem to solve and also a huge opportunity.”
Glaser said that there is no direct rival to the RealPlayer Cloud, since people tend to use a variety of work-arounds when dealing with video, from YouTube uploads to Dropbox storage to emailing videos.
“It’s a cliche, but apathy is our biggest competition,” he said. “That’s because video is hard to manage.”
The service will be free for up to two gigabytes of cloud storage to users in the U.S. and Canada, but cost more for additional storage. Videos also do not have to be reformatted or encoded to be played.
Glaser, a former Microsoft exec who founded the Seattle-based RealNetworks 18 years ago, returned to the digital media company a year ago to attempt to revive its fortunes, which have fallen in recent times.
One of the ways that Glaser said he has done so has been to cut a myriad of projects and then double down on a single major initiative in each of its three units, which include the RealPlayer service, mobile media and entertainment offerings and its GameHouse gaming unit.
That has included the recent rollout of its Facebook social casino game, now called Casino Plus, which offers a monthly $100,000 Golden Dreams cash sweepstakes to entice players to play more for the chance to enter the contest.
(If you want to know more, you can read Walt Mossberg’s review of the RealPlayer Cloud here.)