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RealNetworks Releases SMIL Source Code

RealNetworks Releases Industry Standard SMIL Source Code to Helix Community

Helix Developers Can Now Easily Create Helix DNA Client Products Supporting Synchronized Multimedia

Portland, Oregon, USA. OSCON 2003. July 07, 2003.

RealNetworks Inc., a global leader in network-delivered digital media, today added to the Helix Community, the source code for Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL, pronounced 'smile'), the standard for synchronized display of digital presentations. With the source code of SMIL 2.0 and the Helix DNA Client, Helix community developers can support display of complex presentations in their products. The Helix DNA Client is already in use by major middleware and consumer electronics companies to enable Internet media on consumer electronics devices such as DVD players, set top boxes, PDAs, and mobile devices.

RealNetworks is a contributor to both the SMIL 1.0 and 2.0 specifications and is proud that SMIL 2.0 is both a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Recommendation, the highest level of authorized standard, and a key component of the 3rd Generation Partnership Product (3GPP) specification for mobile multimedia. Supported in industry leading media players, such as RealOne Player, SMIL is typically used for multimedia presentations that integrate streaming audio and video with images, text or any other media type.

"Desktop, mobile and consumer electronics developers need easy access to an industry standard presentation language along with a reference implementation to jump-start development of their audio/video-enabled products," said Nagesh Pabbisetty, vice president, Helix Products and Solutions, RealNetworks, Inc. "We are pleased to contribute our world class implementation of SMIL into the Helix community to assist Helix DNA developers in leveraging the most comprehensive and open multi-format platform for digital media."

"As a visual authoring program for Web designers, Adobe GoLive users rely on industry standards like SMIL to create unique experiences on the Web," said Mark Asher, group product manager for GoLive at Adobe. "RealNetworks' efforts to empower device manufacturers with this advanced technology will ultimately enable GoLive users to develop world class presentations."

"SMIL is the W3C Recommendation for multimedia that allows authors to create XML-based interactive multimedia presentations," said Philipp Hoschka, Deputy Director for the W3C. "We are pleased to see SMIL support expanded into the Helix Community, making the power and flexibility of SMIL available to more developers and more users, and encouraging the even broader adoption of an open multimedia format."

Developers interested in offering content providers the ability to display their content on devices, such as set top boxes, mobile and handheld devices, can implement the Helix DNA Client with SMIL functionality. This simplifies both the product development process and the creation of content -- as SMIL enables content owners to create complex media presentations without using scripting languages. RealNetworks' cross-platform SMIL source code (Windows, Mac and Linux available today) is available under a no-cost open source or a royalty-based commercial license to the registered developers of the Helix community at

The SMIL Standard

Advantages of using the SMIL standard are:

  • Presentation layout and timing: SMIL enables content providers to arrange and manipulate elements of a presentation such as video, audio, graphics animation, and text elements to play simultaneously or on a specific time sequence.

  • Tailor a presentation for different audiences: SMIL can stream different clips to audiences based on criteria such as language or available bandwidth while enabling the different presentations to be accessed with just one hyper link. When the link is clicked, the Helix DNA Client-based application reads the options in the SMIL file and chooses the appropriate presentation.

  • Flexibility in media organization: A SMIL file lists a separate URL for each clip so presentations can be put together using clips stored on any server, e.g., a video clip on a Helix Universal Server and an image clip on a Web server. With this capability, SMIL eliminates the need to merge multiple clips into a single streaming file.


As part of the Helix DNA Client, the SMIL source code is licensed under both an OSI-certified public source license and a commercial community source license. Both licenses are free of charge for research and development use. The open source RealNetworks' Public Source License (RPSL) is royalty free and requires licensees to open source their application. The RealNetworks Community Source License (RCSL) includes a royalty for commercial use and enables licensees to retain proprietary control over the intellectual property in the products they build using the code.

About Helix

Helix is the industry's only open comprehensive multi-format digital media platform. The Helix platform consists of source code developed by RealNetworks over the past nine years for the creation, delivery and playback of digital media, as well as a set of interfaces for building media-enabled applications. With over 10,000 members, the Helix community is enabled to use this source code to build media-capable products with industry-leading technology, intellectual property and commonly used interfaces. The Helix community offers source code of the Helix platform under two source licenses, the commercial RealNetworks Community Source License and the open source RealNetworks Public Source License, both available at RealNetworks has also released a family of products built on top of the Helix platform, including the Helix Producer, Helix Universal Server, Helix DRM and RealOne Player.

About RealNetworks

RealNetworks, Inc. is a leading global provider of network-delivered digital audio and video services and the creator of the technology that enables digital media creation, distribution and consumption. Consumers use RealNetworks' RealOne Player and our content subscription services to create and play free and premium digital content. Broadcasters, network operators, media companies and enterprises use RealNetworks' products and services to deliver digital media to PCs, mobile phones and consumer electronics devices. Consumers can access and experience audio/video programming and download RealNetworks' consumer software at RealNetworks' systems and corporate information is located at


Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See additional references in the news story "RealNetworks Releases Source Code for Synchronized Multimedia (SMIL)." General references in "Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL)."

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