Having trouble listening to the RealAudio sound files?

Firstly, are you sure you have RealOne player installed?

If you have, and it is giving you error messages, it may be worth checking you have the latest version. Please note that RealPlayer has now become RealOne Player.
To get RealOne Player, go to This page on the BBC Website where you can download a free version.

It is highly recommended that you use Internet Explorer (herein referred to as IE) to listen to the sound files on this website.

This is because Netscape (herein referred to as NS) and IE work in different ways when downloading files from the internet. IE allows you to open files from where they are saved on the remote server, i.e. the site you are looking at. This means that you can be looking at (or in this case listening to) the first part of a file, while the rest has not yet downloaded.
NS has to download files completely before it can play them, resulting in a very large download time. Also, due to the way RealOne Player works, downloading the whole audio file will take a lot longer than just the audio part, as happens when you have RealOne Player running as part of the download.

If you do not have IE, it is available on the cover disks of most computer magazines, or as a free download from The Microsoft Website. This program is 'freeware'. This means it is totally free to download and use - there are (virtually) no restrictions to its use.

Doesn't help? Fine. Onwards!

Can't install IE due to the computer you're on not actually being yours? Can't install it as you don't know how or can't be bothered? Like NS and want to keep it? Ok!...

This may well be the case if you are in a university or in a radio station etc (We can always hope!). You can use NS to view the files on the site, but, as mentioned beforehand, you have to download them completely first. This may well not pose a problem if your connection is fast, as it will be in universities etc. Clicking on the files should simply start them downloading and it should play automatically when the download is complete.
If you are using a modem to view the site, the files can take up to 6 times their length to download. If you can wait and do not mind waiting, they should play when the download is complete.

In either of these cases, if you are prompted by NS to save the file, NS is not set-up correctly and will not play the file when the download is complete. See further on...

"I downloaded it, but it doesn't run! It doesn't work!"

A distinct possibility here is that you have a corrupt download. If you downloaded over a modem, it may have disconnected before the download was complete (this often happens if you are using NS as the browser, as Microsoft Windows only monitors your internet connection for usage by Microsoft software. Thus, it thinks the connection has gone idle, and may sometimes "helpfully" disconnect you...)

There are other possibilities where the download may become corrupted, for example in times of very high usage of the site or your ISP (Internet Service Provider), or a whole host of other reasons.

Also, if you have another program open when you run the installation program, in particular a web browser or an email program, the installation may have failed or become corrupt.

In any of these cases, the best option is for you to download the program again and re-install it, making sure you have all other programs closed when you install it.

"It refuses to install!"

The latest version of RealOne Player (8 at the time of writing) requires at least Windows 98 to work. If you have an older operating system (Windows 95, 3.1, 3.0 [you still use 3.0? Wow! How do you cope?!][Sorry!]) you will either need to obtain a newer operating system or an older version of RealPlayer. Contact me if you require any help with this - I will see what I can do.

Ok, you've got the latest version of RealOne Player, and you are either using IE or NS with a fast connection... Still doesn't work?

You may not have it installed correctly. It is a common problem for the "Mime Type" to be missing in the configuration of your web-browser. Sometimes this is due to an error in the installation, sometimes you pressed the wrong thing etc, but no fear! We point no fingers here, but may be able to help...

The set up is different for all browsers so let me point you to the help section of the Real.com website.

There is also a useful page about the installation on The RealOne Player Website that may be worth a look. This includes a known issue with Windows XP crashing.

If your problem is still not solved and you would like further advice, or would like to comment/suggest improvements etc, please E-mail me and I will do my best to help.

Back To Home

Page written and maintained by Phil Holbourn

Page last checked/updated