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RealNetworks is attempting to remake the image of one of its oldest products, launching a refreshed version of its Helix media server with new capabilities, a new name and a “Hello, My Name is Helix” marketing campaign featuring a down-on-his luck, middle-aged guy who discovers in the end that he still has some charm.

That Helix, he’s still a charmer

The launch of the new Helix Universal Media Server this morning is meant to reintroduce the product to the tech industry. Helix is used by wireless carriers, media companies and other companies to stream media to a range of devices. RealNetwork’s financial results show Helix struggling in recent years, with a decline of $7.5 million in Helix system license revenue in 2009, the last year in which results for the product were broken out.

Here are the new features as outlined by the company this morning …

  • Full 64-bit support to maximize server resources, creating an HD-quality viewing experience and limitless bandwidth.
  • Simultaneous delivery of content to iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Android-based handsets, BlackBerry, Flash Players, Symbian OS and Silverlight clients –available from a single server platform.
  • Universal delivery – multi-format, multi-protocol and standards-based H.264 and 3GPP delivery, along with iPhone native Dynamic HTTP segmentation.
  • Support for AES-128 bit encryption over HTTP or HTTPS, and Flash (RTMP, RTMPT, RTMPS).
  • Improvements in bandwidth management and control that translate into savings and superior quality of content delivery.

Having been through a major transition over the past year, RealNetworks as a company is now in the middle of another one, following the surprise resignation of its CEO Bob Kimball. Helix is part of the company’s new “Core Products” division, which also includes ring-back tones and other media services for wireless carriers.

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