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The RealAudio Server that Pagehome uses is version 2.0. However, the RealAudio Server is no longer required to serve RealAudio streams. Progressive Networks has come out with RealAudio 3.0, of which one feature is the ability to play files delivered via Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). What this means is that now streaming audio can be delivered in the same manner as a gif or text file without requiring Progressive Network's proprietary PNM protocol.

What this means to Pagehome's customers - Anyone may have RA files served from their pages without incurring the extra cost for the RealAudio Server. If you are already paying for RA, you may cancel your extra charge for RA by faxing a letter stating this to Pagehome. Also, because these files are being served via HTTP, the overall server load should remain about the same, because one RA file is like several web pages; HTTP doesn't care what type of files it is serving - it just knows to push files out!

Why you may want to keep paying for RealAudio - If you are serving large or high-quality files, you may want to consider continuing to use the PNM protocol. HTTP is not quite as robust as PNM and HTTP is best suited for those serving smaller files or not insistent upon the absolute best sound quality.

How to use RealAudio - Once you have created your .ra file, you would create a text file with the extension .ram. In this text file, you would make a reference to your .ra file so that the server can serve it. The contents of the file would be:

On your web page, you would reference the .ram file, NOT the .ra file, i.e., If you reference the .ra file, it will download completely to the client system before playing. The .ram file is the one that facilitates streaming audio.

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