RealJukebox is an audio playback, management and CD ripping application
created by RealNetworks in the late nineties.
Also, it is a complete piece of garbage.
The interface is garish - as you would expect from any software created by
RealNetworks (from now on, RN). Way too many buttons, too much information
on screen, unnecessary textures, and oh, what's that? An advertisement? So
There is also a handful of skins to make the interface a little less horrid,
but they do not achieve great success in that endeavour either.
Now, the encoder... RN had just purchased Xing Tech,
so they had a pretty decent MP3 encoder in their hands. Unfortunately, they
decided to cripple it to drive sales of the paid version, RealJukebox Plus
(US$ 29.99, also available here). Therefore, the MP3 encoder only works at
56, 64 and 96kbps. Other bitrates require Plus.
But do not despair, lad! You can rip "CD quality" files with RealJukebox,
you only need to accept RN's useless RealAudio format for that (actually,
that is Sony Atrac3 inside the Real Audio
wrapper). You can actually go all the way to 352kbps then, but good luck
playing these files anywhere besides RealJukebox itself.
Anyway, there is more to be said about the application. It is incredibly
intrusive: the free version installs Real Player - without asking first -
and plasters your desktop, start menu and even the Internet Explorer
favorites with offers for AOL and similar crap. It tries to steal your
file associations and installs TWO resident programs in your system tray
that exist only to keep the file associations stolen and send you
notifications about RN products (I can only imagine how awesome these
were) and steal system resources and make your life miserable.
Last, it would not be RN if they were not kowtowing to corporate interests.
RealJukebox offers (nah, insists) to "protect" (that is, encrypt) the
songs it rips from CDs so that you can not share them with your friends.
When you try to disable this great feature, an ominous sounding message
pops up asking if you are really sure you want to be seen as a criminal.
Please do not install RealJukebox or any software from RealNetworks.
Version: 2 Plus (Includes Real Player 8 Plus)
Download: realjukeboxplus_v2.zip - 8.526kB
Kindly contributed by Richard Birch
Download: rjukebox20.exe - 9.152kB