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Real Networks has launched the latest version of it media player and claim it is the world's first free player to support all the major formats - RealAudio, RealVideo, Windows Media, MP3, QuickTime MPEG-4 and AAC - the format used by Apple's iTunes.

The free download claims better video and audio streaming and the ability to fast forward and rewind streams. It is also probably even better at constantly harrassing you to upgrade to the paid-for version.

Today sees the launch of versions for the English, German, Japanese and North American markets. French, Spanish, Italian, Brazilian-Portuguese, Korean and Chinese are due for launch in the summer.

RealNetworks also announced new content deals with Virgin Radio and BT.

Virgin, which claims to be "the most listened to radio station on the web", will be broadcast using RealAudio10 and AAC. The company has also bought RealNetworks Helix Universal Server for content delivery.

BT has also licensed Helix Universal Server and Delivery Suite to use for its pay-per-view and video download services. The telco has set up a new division "BT Rich Media" as the first step to providing television services over broadband.

BT believes it has a product which can easily offer video on demand and bill for it and control the rights. BT also demonstrated "Flexible Bandwidth" whereby broadband customers can boost their connection speed up to 2Megs when they access premium content.

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