Real Networks has announced a new version of their RealPlayer today that will be available as a PC-only public Beta in June. The player allows users to download and organize nearly all embedded internet video content (Flash, WMV, QuickTime) including content from popular video sites like YouTube, Comedy Central, and of course, CNET. The player was demonstrated for me and actually looks pretty impressive. The new video download feature integrates fairly elegantly into your Web browser (yes, it works on Firefox). It works by temporarily displaying a small, fairly unobtrusive download tab in the right top corner of any video content it detects on a given Web page. It's even able to record streaming internet video in real time.
It looks like a great improvement over the slow, intrusive RealPlayer I remember. One feature it lacks, however, is the ability to export your downloaded video content to an iPod-compatible format. You can, however, use RealPlayer to burn your downloaded videos to CD, and if you pony up some money for RealPlayer Plus, they give the ability to burn video content to DVD. Some small improvements have also been made to speed up the load time of the application and cut out many of the annoying installation questions.