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QuickTime Player embedded into Web page
Standalone RealMedia Player offers
exclusive streaming coverage of 
Major League Baseball
Standalone QuickTime Player displaying Favorites  drawer 
Users can acquire these and other  skins  to personalize their Windows Media Player:
    A nostalgic skin resembling an old fashioned radio
    A futuristic silver ball with sliding elements and hidden features
Standalone Windows Media Player
displaying portal mode
    A cute penguin named  Melvin  who plays your music and videos 
RealNetworks, Apple, and Microsoft each offer players that are available via free down 
load from their Web sites (although the Windows Media Player comes pre installed on 
 The issue for consumers will 
PCs shipped with the Windows operating system, while the QuickTime Player is pre 
be the irritation of having to 
installed on the Mac OS platform). All three of these major competitors sell download 
able player upgrades, offering premium models that can enhance playback controls 
download the player and 
with such features as video contrast and color adjustment, audio graphics equalizers, 
fi guring out which one is going 
the selective recording and saving of streaming content (if authorized by the content 
provider), and more. 
to become the default player  
While the three major architectures' media players will all play back some competitive 
Streaming media content 
formats, they do not always support the newest releases of a competing format. This is 
a complication that makes it diffi cult for consumers to decide which player to choose 
almost certainly requires 
as the default in their Web browser. Meanwhile, content providers who want to reach 
media companies to convert 
as many eyeballs as possible are forced to support all three players.
to multiple formats. 
With competition between the three big players heating up, the contenders have begun 
 Jeremy Schwartz, consultant
18
to incorporate portal like functionality into their players to add value, offering catego 
namic Medianamic Mediay
rized content choices such as movie trailers, news, and other vertical content, as well as 
y
allowing end users to add conveniently clickable access to their own favorite  channels.  
One of the ways in which the big three streaming media contenders compete is by vying 
for exclusive rights to broadcast popular content especially sports, entertainment, and news only 
obe Dobe D
via their own portal player. As a primary means to generate revenue, portal players offer advertisers 
dd
the opportunity for sponsorships, streaming commercial messages prior to playing user selected con 
AA
tent, and making the experience of streaming video on the Internet more and more like traditional 
broadcast radio and TV.
14
14
18  As quoted in   The Impossible Stream,  by Ken Kerschbaumer, Broadcasting & Cable Magazine, December 11, 2000  
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