A program from Real Media for playing audio over the Internet, and the lossy audio compression format it uses.
The system is implemented as a client/server architecture. The RealAudio server incorporates an encoder which compresses sound into RealAudio files. The client side is a web browser plug-in or add-on (a recent version of Internet Explorer apparently has built-in support for RealAudio) which allows the stream of data sent from the server to be uncompressed and output using the normal sound facilities of the computer, such as a sound card.
A 14.4 KBps or better modem is required, and a 28.8 KBps connection is recommended for music-quality sound.