WHAT ARE YOU GUYS REFERING TO WHEN YOU SAY REAL AUDIO
FROM A RAIDO STATION. I LIESTEN ALL THE TIME TO WEB BASED RADIO STAIONS.
No need to SHOUT...
Web based radio stations "broadcast" their content in different formats - just like you can have different compressed audio formats on your PC or MP3/WMA/iPod device. Most often used formats are Real Audio, MP3 and WMA, (not in any particular order) but there are others possible including Ogg. Several Internet Radio products do not support Real "out of the box", partly due to technical issues (fitting multiple decoder software variants into a given memory size and target price) or due to the licensing issues associated with the decoder. I have heard from one radio maker that Real is one of the more "difficult" when it comes to licensing.
I agree that sometimes this is confusing, specially for the people that are new to the internet. Real Audio is the audio format created by Real. Dot. Among others, it also created Real Video and Real Media. It was one of the pioneers, so their formats have been changing a lot with time. Imagine that the first versions I tried was even before my computer could handle MP3 properly (we are talking about computers before the Pentium 1 era, with a 14.4k modem, and RealAudio G2). Things have changed a lot, but some radio stations have stayed with old software/hardware. That is the reason you have to support lots of different versions. As far as I know, the mplayer project only have managed to support the most oldest versions (for the newest ones, they have to use parts of the RealPlayer program!).
More about Real: http://www.real.com
Again, the word "real" should have different meanings to you:
"Real" Audio/Video/Media/Player are different protocols, formats, programs made by a company called Real.
"Real" Life is a term used for your life when you are not online. It is yours, after all!