YouTube videos downloadable and storable on new RealPlayer

RealNetworks says its forthcoming RealPlayer11 software will be configured to allow users to save YouTube videos - as well as those by other providers- for later viewing.The upgrade, which is expected in June, will also let users store these clips on DVDs.

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RealNetworks says its forthcoming RealPlayer11 software will be configured to allow users to save YouTube videos - as well as those by other providers- for later viewing.

The upgrade, which is expected in June, will also let users store these clips on DVDs.

Reuters reports that this video storage option will be accessed via a "download this video" button that will be placed next to downloadable videos on thousands of websites.

What's even cooler, users will be able to download multiple videos at the same time- in Flash, QuickTime and Windows Media formats.

"RealPlayer used to be cool, until iTunes and Windows Media Player made it obsolete," writes Gizmodo's Brian Lam (no, not the C-SPAN guy-that's "Lamb.") "The new RealPlayer is badass for one reason: It can rip net videos, even those on YouTube and from video streams, with a single click. "

Brian's right. From 1997-2000, I hung around Seattle-based Real for some projects. Toward the end of that era, I began to detect a slowing down of innovation fire-in-the-belly. Over the years, this has led to a certain type of irrelevance. Real wasn't even "Web 2.0." But now, if Real pulls this off, that would be a great leap forward.

How many websites jump on board is open to question, though.

Forrester analyst James McQuivey told Reuters that media companies may in time embrace this technology, but only after safeguards are enforced on YouTube to reduce the mass of illegally uploaded video. Eventually, RealNetworks and the media companies could share in an advertising revenue-sharing system.

"This essentially frees up the content so that it can go anywhere you want to consume it, which means more people will consume it," McQuivey told Reuters. "That is why media companies are going to line up behind this."