Avoiding Real/wma
May 6, 2005 1:15 PM   Subscribe

I want to listen to NPR (esp. All Things Considered) on my OS10.3 Mac, but the only options they give are Real and Windows Media. I don't want to install any bloated spyware (read: RealPlayer or Windows Media Player) on my sweet sweet aluminum baby, so what kind of good, lightweight, and free player can I find that will let me play one or the other of those formats?
posted by The Michael The to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The Mac versions of both RealPlayer and Windows Media Player are standalone applications that can be removed from the system simply by trashing the apps. No spyware or extra crap, really.

I mean, I can understand why you'd still want to avoid them, and I look forward to other responses with alternatives, but I just wanted to make sure that you knew that the programs themselves Really Aren't That Bad Lately when it comes to the Mac versions.

If that doesn't sway you, there's always the old standby VLC Player, but I find I still need Real & WMP as backups anyway when it comes to certain streams or codecs.
posted by bcwinters at 1:27 PM on May 6, 2005

VLC can do some of the real and windows media formats but support for the newer codecs is sketchy at best. It is worth a shot at least. The other option, which I eventually succumbed to, is to download Real Player from the BBC. A while back the BBC managed to get Real to provide a version of the player without the spyware junk (for legal reasons -- something to do with the government not being able to solicit revenue?). The link to that is here. I've noticed no poor behavior with it installed on my mac.

On preview: what bcwinters said.
posted by darksquirrel at 1:30 PM on May 6, 2005

odinsdream writes "If it exists for the Mac, try and download the 'Enterprise' version of RealOne player. This is what I use for Windows, because it really does come with only the player. It's intended for installation in corporate environments with strict firewall rules, which is why it's perfectly suitable for home use also."

Even better: Real Alternative. I actually like Real streams now that they don't require Real's GUI.
posted by orthogonality at 1:36 PM on May 6, 2005

While it is indeed a good thing, Real Alternative is not available for OSX. The best OSX options are mplayerosx and the aforementioned VideoLAN Client. Neither of them directly support the SMIL files that npr.org seems to hide the streams behind, but both players are certainly capable of playing an RTSP stream if Real codecs are installed.

Unfortunately, installing Real codecs on OSX is a pain in the ass for end users.
posted by majick at 5:05 PM on May 6, 2005

there are also npr streams from affiliate stations kqed and kcrw available in itunes (source: radio; stream: public)
posted by gac at 12:08 AM on May 7, 2005

You can also listen to "All Things Considered" by using the WBUR News Tuner.
posted by ericb at 7:39 AM on May 7, 2005

i'm a bit late to the party, but i solved the same problem by finding a 128kbps mp3 stream that had most of the shows i was interested in by searching at publicradiofan.com. that's really a phenomenal website which is worth checking out.

then i bought RadioLover, which allows you to schedule recordings from streaming mp3 stations. in theory you really don't need RadioLover; you could use cron (or launchd) + streamripper, but RadioLover's a hell of a lot more convienient for the average person.

then, because i am insane, i wrote a perl script that cobbles together a bunch of open-source tools to produce .m4b files which are sped up to 150% speed, but do not sound like alvin and the chipmunks. my iPod thinks they are audiobooks, so pausing and moving between tracks brings you back to where you left off. i havent yet figured out how to put bookmarks in the .m4b.

in this way i can cram more NPR into my brain during my long-ish commute.

my grand plan included creating cutlists for the different NPR shows to edit out all the news breaks and other junk, further boosting my listening efficiency (Fresh Air was something like 37 minutes after editing and timestretching.) i had this prototyped, but then i realized that the plegde drives would completely break my cutlists and i decided to give up on the idea.

so now i have this enormous directory full of NPR shows that i can load onto my iPod whenever i feel like it. it is awesome.
posted by joeblough at 6:07 PM on May 7, 2005

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