thanks for the reply DJ Egg.
sorry for misplacing my post in the form and i'll be a little more conscise this time.
the streams in the example urls you gave me worked ok in winamp.
but the following link is still not working for me:
when i enter the above link into WMP it plays ok. when i enter the same link into winamp, it won't play.
when i enter the same link into my browser, RealOne opens up (wtf!!??) and tries to play the stream then it fails.
it is weird that RealOne tries to play this particular link when i enter it into my browser because i am positive that my file associations point to winamp to play wmv files.
anyway, for some reason winamp can't play the link in this post, even though it is a valid one.