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internetting in the 90s: realplayer


There was a Reddit post recently called One of the worst things ever to come out of the 90's, and it was nothing but a single image of the RealPlayer software. At the time I write this, the conversation is 1,110+ comments strong; it is ridiculous how many people remember that audio/video player from the Windows 95 and Windows 98 days..

RealPlayer is actually still around, but it's obvious they will probably never shake the bad reputation they acquired over a decade ago.

What made RealPlayer suck back in the day?

Two things.


The first was something that wasn't even its fault, that being the internet itself. The word "Buffering" appeared more or less every time you used RealPlayer whenever you tried to play/stream anything from the internet. It was really, really annoying, but like I said it wasn't RealPlayer's fault. Internet at that time was really slow and bandwidth wasn't exactly plentiful, so what you had was a bunch of people on slow dialup all trying to stream content from servers that simply couldn't handle the load, hence, "Buffering...."

The second was something that entirely was RealPlayer's fault: Spyware, and the fact the software tried to hijack way too much in Windows, similar to how AOL software did at the time.

I will say this however in RealPlayer's defense that as a player, it did get the job done. Will I ever install it again? Not likely. When you have modern free options like foobar2000 and VLC, RealPlayer doesn't really have a place on anyone's computer anymore.

Published 2010 Nov 15

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