Trying to send a video from your Android phone to your iPhone? Can't get your iPhone movies to play on your TV? The question of which device will play what kind of file can be toe-curlingly frustrating, but RealPlayer Cloud offers a nifty solution. Every file you upload to your personal folder is automatically transcoded into a number of different file formats, and when you want to play them on another phone, tablet, PC or Smart TV, it automatically downloads the right kind of file so it'll play without any mucking about.
While for many people RealPlayer was a plugin they remember installing in the late '90s, the media player has forged on and continues to serve up video to around 25 million users, who download around 100 million of each other's videos per month. And while you may already have VLC or another multi-format player on your desktop, your uncle/nan/employer probably doesn't, so RealPlayer Cloud should make sending home movies a great deal easier. Your recipient doesn't need a RealPlayer Cloud account to watch or download videos you've sent them, so you won't have to talk your parents through any sort of installation process, and if you're pinging videos between your own devices it's all pleasingly straightforward.
And yes, you could upload your videos to YouTube and mark them as private, but RealPlayer Cloud lets you email someone a download link rather than a link to watch on a website, and for many that will feel like a more secure, private way of getting their home movies from their phone to their TV.
"We've found that while increasingly TVs are sold as 'smart TVs', people aren't really using them as 'smart TVs', because it's difficult to connect things up and watch things from your other devices", said RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser when we met him at Mobile World Congress last week. "So our aim is make that easier. We've started with Roku and Chromecast" - there's a Cast button built into the app - "and we're going to add more devices. People tell us they much prefer using an app as a remote control."
The amount of space you get in RealPlayer Cloud is similar to the Dropbox model, with 2GB available straight away for free, more if you persuade a pal to sign up, and still more if you're prepared to pay. Don't imagine you can use it for any nefarious sharing, though. "We support the same rules and use the same deterrents as YouTube does to stop piracy," said Glaser. "Our goal is to make legitimate sharing of video easy, not piracy."
RealPlayer Cloud is available for PC, Android, iOS, Windows 8 and Kindle Fire.