Microsoft has taken the covers off its latest venture into the video on demand market with the launch of MSN Video Player.
MSN Video Player will be available exclusively in the UK and will offer over 300 hours of free content from both BBC worldwide and producer All3Media, responsible for shows like peep show and shameless. Microsoft will be running a 6 month trial of the player during which time Ashley Highfield, Microsoft's managing director and vice president of consumer and online, claims that the company has sold out of its advertising space to fund the MSN Video Player.
The idea behind the video player is not to compete with the BBC's iPlayer or Channel 4's OD but to complement the services and offering backdated programming. In an interview with the BBC Microsoft's Highfield claims "we cover everything from a few months ago to a few years ago. This is bringing all the programs together in one place. It's going to be a one stop shop for recent and older classic British television."
As the service won't be fully available until next week it remains to be seen exactly how good the service is. Programs will be streamed in flash or using Microsoft's Windows Media Video (WMV). Strangely Microsoft is not planning to use its own Silverlight technology and will not be applying DRM to the streams. As the service is advertising funded, adverts will run before clips start streaming. Microsoft plans to roll the service out to the Xbox 360, Windows Mobile and living room TV screens (via IPTV) if the service proves popular.
Image Credit: Microsoft