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Helix (project)

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Helix (project)

Helix DNA Client
Developer(s) RealNetworks
Stable release 15 / November 8, 2012
Operating system Android (2.2 to 4.x), MPEG-DASH, HLS, RealMedia, Verimatrix DRM, Microsoft PlayReady DRM, Symbian (RTSP)
Type OEM and Android developer commercial grade SDK
License Proprietary

Helix DNA is a project to produce computer software that can play audio and video media in various formats, aid in producing such media, and serve them over a network. It is intended as a largely free and open source digital media framework that runs on numerous operating systems and processors (including mobile phones) and was started by RealNetworks which contributed much of the code.[1][2] The Helix Community is an open collaborative effort to develop and extend the Helix DNA platform.[3]

Helix DNA Client is a software package for multi-platform multi-format media playback. Helix Player is a media player that runs on Linux, Solaris, Symbian and FreeBSD and uses the Helix DNA Client. The Helix DNA Producer application aids in the production of media files, and Helix DNA Server can stream media files over a network.


The code is released in binary and source code form under various licenses, notably the proprietary RealNetworks Community Source License and the free and open source software RealNetworks Public Source License. Additionally, the Helix DNA Client and the Helix Player are licensed under the popular GNU General Public License (GPL) free and open source license.

Use of the RDT, the default proprietary Real data transport, and of the RealVideo and RealAudio codecs requires binary components distributed under the Helix DNA Technology Binary Research Use License.

Helix DNA Client

Helix DNA Client
Original author(s) RealNetworks
Type Media playback engine
License GNU General Public License

Helix DNA Client powers many digital media applications, including Amarok music players, and MediaReady 4000. Helix DNA also manifests itself as the RealPlayer on Mobile Internet Devices (MID) and on Netbooks.

Developers from the Open Source Lab announced in 2007 they would use Helix technologies for content creation applications and collaboration in the One Laptop Per Child project.[4][5]

Helix DNA client contains support for the following media formats:[6]

Helix DNA Client for Android

Helix DNA Client for Android
Original author(s) RealNetworks
Stable release 1.1.2 / 8 November 2012
Development status Commercially available
Written in Java
Operating system Android 2.2, 2.3.x, 3.x, 4.x
Type Media playback engine
License Commercial License

Helix DNA Client for Android provides an HLS, MPEG-DASH, Verimatrix DRM and Microsoft PlayReady DRM media player for Android 2.2 to latest devices. Supporting H.264 and AAC codecs with Adaptive Bit Rate support (H.264 / AAC) including audio only. Armv7 and Armv6 supported using Stagefright media platform. Helix SDK is supplied as a library which is included within Android Java applications for over the air installation.

Helix DNA client contains support for the following media formats:

  • Audio formats: AAC, RealAudio
  • Video formats: H.264, RealVideo and container formats RealMedia file format, 3GP
  • Protocols: HLS (Version 4), MPEG-DASH (ISO BMFF MP4)

Helix DNA Server

Helix DNA Server
Original author(s) RealNetworks
Initial release January 22, 2003
Type Media streaming
License RealNetworks Public Source License, RealNetworks Community Source License

The Helix DNA Server, first released on 22 January 2003,[7] supports streaming of following formats:

  • RealVideo, RealAudio (.rm, .ra, .rv)
  • MP3

It supports streaming to any device or application that supports the HTTP, RTSP/RTP, TCP, UDP unicast and UDP multicast streaming protocols.[8]

There is also a commercial version called Helix Server, which has more features and supports more media formats.[9] It was originally called the Helix Universal Server when it was announced in or before 2002.[10]

Helix Player

Helix Player
Original author(s) RealNetworks
Stable release 11.0
Operating system Linux, Solaris, Symbian, FreeBSD
Type Media player
License GNU General Public License

It is based on the Helix DNA Client. It is available for Linux, Solaris, Symbian and FreeBSD. Users of Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X can use RealPlayer, which has similar capabilities.[11][12]

Helix DNA Producer

Helix DNA Producer
Original author(s) RealNetworks
Stable release 11
Operating system MS Windows, Linux, Mac OS X
Type Media encoder
License RealNetworks Community Source License
RealNetworks Public Source License

It is a media encoding engine for creating streaming broadcasts, on-demand streaming content, and downloadable audio video files. The Helix DNA Producer runs on MS Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.[13]

The Helix DNA Producer contains output support for the following data types:[13][14]

  • RealAudio 10, 8, G2
  • RealVideo 10, 9, 8, 7, G2
  • Ogg Vorbis

Developers who want MP3 encoding can license the code from RealNetworks for a fee.[13] There is also an add-on package for Helix DNA Producer SDK with AAC or aacPlus encoding support.[15]

Helix DNA Producer is also available in a commercial, closed-source version - RealProducer Plus for MS Windows and Linux.[16][17]

See also

Free software portal


External links

  • Helix Community
  • Helix Universal Server Administration Guide
  • Helix DNA Technology Binary Research Use License
  • Advisory: Mu Dynamics discovers Helix DNA server heap corruption vulnerability
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