1/14/09

Rhapsody opens channels for streaming music into consumers’ homes

Rhapsody, a digital music service from RealNetworks and MTV Networks, has teamed with Vizio, Cisco Systems and Yahoo to stream music to more devices in the home.

Bill Briggs , Senior Editor

Rhapsody, a digital music service from RealNetworks Inc. and MTV Networks, has teamed with Vizio Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and Yahoo Inc. to extend streaming music into the home. The move is designed to carry on-demand access to a full range of devices.

“As Internet connectivity continues to extend from the PC to portable and mobile devices and now to the television, consumers will expect instant access to on-demand services like Rhapsody on devices from a variety of consumer electronics manufacturers,” says Neil Smith, vice president of business management for Rhapsody America.

The agreement between RealNetworks, No. 89 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, and Vizio will deliver Rhapsody’s digital music service on Vizio’s new Connected HDTV platform. The platform is slated for integration into Vizio televisions available in fall 2009. Rhapsody will deliver on-demand streaming music through a technology platform that consumers will access with wired and wireless networking built into Vizio TVs.

RealNetworks’ arrangement with Cisco’s wireless home audio products will build the Rhapsody service into the new line of Linksys wireless home audio products. The products will help enable consumers to wirelessly stream music from Rhapsody to any room in the home. Total home control will be available with a wireless touch screen remote. A Rhapsody subscription offer is included with the Conductor Director and Player wireless home audio products.

Under the Yahoo agreement, Rhapsody will make its on-demand streaming service available to major TV manufacturers and other consumer electronics products to enable the creation of Rhapsody-enabled widgets on the Yahoo Connected TV platform. The Yahoo Widget Engine will give consumers access to Rhapsody’s 6-million-song catalog directly from the TV’s user interface.

RealNetworks also announced it has begun offering a free song every day from chart-topping artists to any customer who visits Rhapsody.com/mp3. The daily song will be a DRM-free MP3 file that customers can download, keep forever and play on any device including the iPod.

RealNetworks also announced this week that the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC, upheld a 2007 ruling against a patent infringement claim by Friskit Inc., a streaming media licensing company. RealNetworks says Friskit attempted to revive its patent infringement suit against RealNetworks in which it had sought damages of more than $70 million.

The federal circuit court upheld a 2007 ruling by a court in the Northern District of California invalidating all asserted claims, RealNetworks says.

Topics:

Cisco Systems, Entertainment Culture, IPod, Linksys, Yahoo! Music Unlimited

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