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What is the RealVideo Format and Extension? A Quick and Simple Explanation

RealVideo format and extension explained

RealVideo is an Internet video streaming format developed by RealNetworks,
a company that specializes in codec technology and streaming-related products.

RealNetworks was the forerunner of the streaming industry.

They created the first real-time streaming media player. That was RealPlayer version 1 in 1995.

It reigned in the streaming world until displaced by Windows Media in the early 2000s.

RealVideo’s compression format is proprietary in nature and is used to stream videos over the Internet.

RealVideo can be played back on a variety of devices, ranging from smartphones to computers, and even smart TVs.

A RealVideo file comes with the .rv extension and is also known as an RV file.

Among the platforms that support RealVideo is supported are Linux, Windows, and Mac.

RealMedia Format

RealMedia (.RM) is a container format that stores RealAudio or RealVideo or a combination of the two.

In most instances, RealVideo (.rv) and RealAudio (.ra) files are paired in the RealMedia container format to make video streaming possible.

The RealMedia multimedia file is also used to stream audio and is used on Internet radio platforms.

RealMedia Streaming Properties

A constant bit rate is used in the streaming of RealMedia content. A fixed bitrate, is, however, not ideal in certain streaming situations.

There will be times when bitrates need to be increased to transmit certain kinds of content.

With this in mind, RealNetworks introduced the RealMedia Variable Bitrate (RMVB) format.

This makes it possible for AV data to be transmitted at various speeds.

History of RealVideo

RealVideo didn’t start as a proprietary format when it was first introduced in 1997.

It employed the H.263 format and continued using it until version 8 of RealVideo was released.

RealVideo Compression Format Types

Currently, there are 5 RealVideo compression formats.

  1. RV10 supports RealVideo Version 1.0.
  2. RV20 supports RealVideo G2 and RealVideo G2+SVT.
  3. RV30 supports RealVideo Version 8.
  4. RV40 supports RealVideo Version 9 and 10.
  5. RV60 supports RealVideo Version 11.

RealVideo Playback

You can play RealVideo files from a RealMedia container file using supported media players.

A free player that supports RealVideo playback is the VLC Media Player.

RealVideo streaming video uses the Real Time Streaming Protocol (RSTP) to connect to supported devices. AV data, however, uses the Real Data Transport (RDT) protocol.


Streaming technology has advanced over the years. RealVideo which was the go-to format in the earlier years has now given way to more efficient formats like H.264 and H.265.

That said, RealVideo is still employed for streaming video by some platforms.


RealVideo at Wikipedia

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