Youtube's newly decorated interface is crap. The old one was fine.
It's free insofar as any Google-owned service is free. It is supported by advertising. It is not supplied to us out of kindness. Don't get me wrong - I'm a fan of Google and of Youtube, but it is what it is.
The better and more popular the interface, the more users will use it and the better Google's ad-supported business model will work for them. By giving quality control feedback we are not whinging, we are doing Google/YT a favour.
If the Realplayer download facility doesn't work for you (and it fails on quite a few Youtube vids) then you may have better luck with Firefox and a extension called Video Downloadhelper. I've been using it for years and it's never yet failed to grab a Youtube vid.
There are loads of good .FLV players - VLC Player is one of the best.
There are also free FLV to AVI converters for people who insist on using Windows Media Player.