Software firm RealNetworks says it has found a way for tunes from its store to be played on devices like Apple iPods.
Previously, the only tracks with digital protection the iPod would play were those from the iTunes store.
It says its engineers used publicly-available information in order to work out how to make files compatible with Apple’s digital rights management (DRM) software, which is called FairPlay.
What took them so long? Probably the legal review
Some details from Karl Lillevold (RealNetworks Sr. Codec Engineer):
As you know, the RealNetworks music store sells songs in 192 kbps AAC (as opposed to iTMS at 128 kbps). When transferring your purchased songs to the iPod, the AAC itself is not touched, but the Helix DRM is transmuxed to the DRM used by the iPod, i.e. fully protected and without trans-coding. If you then transfer the file back to your PC (for instance with Anapod), you get an M4P file, that is a protected MPEG-4 AAC file.