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How to play Real Audio files using Windows Media Player (WMP), A step-by-step guide
thewolfman
post May 27 2006, 13:10
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I’ve just bought a Roku SoundBridge M1000: it’s a great way to give your songs on your PC new life and play them through your hifi. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer support for Real Player as yet (Come on Roku! Get your act together!) so there’s no way to play my collection of Real Audio files.

The SoundBridge does support WMP and the usual collection of audio formats (e.g. MP3); however, WMP doesn’t support Real Audio files. So is it possible to get WMP to play Real Audio files? Most people will tell you it can’t be done, but I say…

Yes, it can! cool.gif

Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting WMP to play Real Audio files. At the end of this process, you will be able to:
( a ) Play .ra and .rmj files
( b ) Add these files to your Library
( c ) Add .ra and .rmj to your list of default file types

A few things first: The solution I describe below may, or may not work for you for a variety of reasons. Google is your friend if it doesn’t. In particular, it involves you editing your Registry. As anyone will tell you, this is a Force 10 Hazard and is likely to lead to impotence, a nasty rash and a good chance that you will completely mess up your computer beyond repair. (Seriously!)

So follow these steps at your own risk!

I also should give most credit to “MaB_fr” who posted this which was the inspiration for the Registry fixes below.

Note that I’m using Windows XP SP2 and WMP v10: I have no idea whether this solve works for other OSs or other versions of WMP.

STEP 1: Get WMP to play Real Audio files
1.1 Install either RealPlayer (www.real.com) or Real Alternative. I already had RealPlayer installed so I don’t know anything about Real Alternative but apparently it works just as well
1.2 Go here and download RealMedia Splitter
1.3 Follow the instructions here here to copy the relevant .ax file into the Windows\system32 folder. Make sure you use the correct version for Windows
1.4 Click on Start > Run > regsvr32 realmediasplitter.ax
1.5 Restart WMP

You should now be able to play Real Audio files with WMP. You’ll need to use “Any file” to find them using WMP’s Open file.

(Make sure you can, otherwise the rest of this isn’t going to work…)

STEP 2: Get WMP to add Real Audio files to the WMP Library

Did I mention that editing your Registry is dangerous? At your own risk…

2.1 Go to Start > Run > regedit
2.2 Make the following changes to these Registry Keys. Some of these I had to create from scratch, others I had to just add. Your mileage may vary. Most of the line items within the Keys are String values. I also made these changes one by one, but there may be a way to automate the changes.

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\MLS\Extensions]
"ra"="audio"
"rmj"="audio"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Multimedia\WMPlayer\Extensions\.ra]
"Extension.MIME"="audio/x-realaudio"
"AlreadyRegistered"="yes"
"MediaType.Description"="RealAudio Audio"
"Permissions"=dword:0000000f
"Runtime"=dword:00000007
"PerceivedType"="audio"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Multimedia\WMPlayer\Extensions\.rmj]
"Extension.MIME"="audio/x-realaudio"
"AlreadyRegistered"="yes"
"MediaType.Description"="RealAudio Audio"
"Permissions"=dword:0000000f
"Runtime"=dword:00000007
"PerceivedType"="audio"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Multimedia\WMPlayer\MIME Types\audio/x-realaudio]
@="RealAudio Audio file"
"AlreadyRegistered"="yes"
"Extension.Key"=".rmj"
“Extensions.CommaSep”=”ra,rmj”
“Extensions.SpaceSep”=”.ra .rmj”

2.3 Close the Registry and restart WMP. You should now be able to add RealAudio files to WMP’s Library using File > Add to Library.

Note that the RealMedia Splitter version I used can’t detect the attached details of the RealAudio files e.g. artist, album, etc. But at least the files will be available in the Library (and you can edit them directly there if you’re so inclined).

STEP 3: Add .ra and .rmj to your list of default file types
3.1 To get the extension in the "Add Files..." type menu, you must edit these three registry keys:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Player\Extensions\Descriptions]
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Player\Extensions\MUIDescriptions]
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Player\Extensions\Types]

For each, add a "last number" + 1 entry for every filetype you want to add.

For example, on my PC, the last entry was :
"9" = "*.dvr-ms"

To add RealAudio support in the "Add Files..." box, I added:
in [Descriptions] : "10" = "ReadAudio Audio file (*.ra;*.rmj)"
in [MUIDescription] : "10" = "RealAudio file"
in [Types] : "10" = "*.ra;*.rmj”

3.2 Restart WMP. You should now be able to see the RealAudio option in the Open File drop down menu.

And there you have it! I hope this works as well for you as it did for me.

Other URLs you may find useful:
Microsoft 1
Microsoft 2
More background to the RA extension

Good luck.

thewolfman
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