The RealAudio format was originally developed by RealNetworks, Inc. and is a propriety audio format -- the first public version was released in 1995. Although the RealAudio format isn't as popular as it once was, it's still a very flexible audio scheme that can be used for a variety of applications.
Internet radio stations can use the RealAudio format to deliver broadcasts in real-time (streaming music). There are quite a few audio codecs that can be used to compress audio making it a flexible system.
Files Encoded at Variable Bitrates:
The RealAudio format makes it possible to encode audio data in a variety of bitrates for downloading. The advantage of this is that you can encode audio to suite the application in question. For instance, if delivery is needed on a low bandwidth connection (like the old dial-up modem days) then a low bitrate can be used to create files small enough to download easily.
RealAudio Lossless Format
Sipro Lab Telecom ACELP-NET
Macgo Mac Blu-ray Player: Play RealAudio format on your Mac.
Macgo Windows Blu-ray Player: Play RealAudio on Windows platforms.
Macgo Free Mac Media Player: Play RealAudio for Mac OS X.
Windows Media Player (via a plugin)
VLC Media Player
More about RealAudio on Wikipedia
Comparison of audio formats
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