Microsoft's MSN Video Player is now live, streaming TV shows

As promised, Microsoft has now launched MSN Video Player, its latest venture into the video on demand market.

MSN Video Player is now available as a free online beta to those in the UK. MSN Video Player is available exclusively in the UK and offers over 300 hours of free content from both BBC worldwide and producer All3Media, responsible for shows like peep show and shameless. Microsoft is 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."

Programs are currently streamed in Flash and it's rumoured that Microsoft plans to use Silverlight in the future. British viewers can currently choose from classics like Peep show, Bottom and Shameless.

View: MSN Video Player

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48 Comments

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As it is encoded in flash does this mean I can watch it on the Wii internet player? I'll have to check it out when I get home

It would be nice if they would ENCODE the videos correctly. Since it is a bloody video service. Out of the four shows i picked at random two had visible interlacing.

A good example is Marion and Geoff S01E01, dunno about the rest. I would link to it but there is no way to direct link it seems.

Ill stick to iPlayer and 4OD of the moment, this needs some work still. I don't go near ITV on demand for obvious reasons.

It's a nice idea, but I think they rushed it out to try and get a bit of market share before Hulu launches here in September.

Streaming TV is a nightmare at the moment. You have to check 5 sites to find the programme you're looking for. To get 100% market share, some company needs to merge every channel onto one site (like Hulu seem to have achieved in the USA).

Well except missing CBS, ABC, (I think WB), as well as other cable channels.

I'm not complaining, and I really like the catalog on Hulu, but Hulu is far from having achieved 100%

I love this service it's great The 1st series of This Life minimum ads, Standard Definition but easily watchable fabulous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

shame the bar at the bottom does not auto hide

i dont think i can watch a video with a bar at the bottom, i only want to see the video

Most of this is out of the bbc archives. Most weren't filmed this decade and they aren't going to go back to the original print to upscale it for these old shows. These programs have been shown a thousand times round the world, syndicated by hundreds of channels.

For a free MSN service, it's really not worth it.

lunamonkey said,
Most of this is out of the bbc archives. Most weren't filmed this decade and they aren't going to go back to the original print to upscale it for these old shows. These programs have been shown a thousand times round the world, syndicated by hundreds of channels.

For a free MSN service, it's really not worth it.


Unless you actually love those old shows, like many do, and want to see them again. This type a service can only grow since it's all about backdated content, since that only grows regardless. Todays "new" shows will find their way onto this in time.

Unless you actually love those old shows, like many do, and want to see them again. This type a service can only grow since it's all about backdated content, since that only grows regardless. Todays "new" shows will find their way onto this in time.

Just incase it wasn't clear, I'm not sure... I love the old stuff too. When I said "it's really not worth it."

I meant "it's really not worth [going back and upscaling] it."

I also think that as the focus is on old shows, I doubt they will show new HiDef on here within the next 2 years. These shows are old, and basically free to air. They literally couldn't sell this stuff anymore. Everyone has seen it all on UKGold..

BBC iPlayer doesn't offer everything [anything] in HD (correct me if you know something, I'd like to watch it.) and that's been running for a few years now.

It's a nice free service though.

lunamonkey said,
Most of this is out of the bbc archives. Most weren't filmed this decade and they aren't going to go back to the original print to upscale it for these old shows. These programs have been shown a thousand times round the world, syndicated by hundreds of channels.

For a free MSN service, it's really not worth it.


And as it's FREE how can it not be worth it?? If it has something on you want to watch then it's worth it, simple really

cerealfreak said,
And as it's FREE how can it not be worth it?? If it has something on you want to watch then it's worth it, simple really

"It" was referring to upscaling old content to HD. Sorry, I wasn't grammatically correct.

lunamonkey said,
"It" was referring to upscaling old content to HD. Sorry, I wasn't grammatically correct.


Fair enough, although it could be something they will consider in the future? Possibly some of the shows have been upscaled for DVD so they may use the enhanced versions going forward if it's succesful as MSN say it is. I like it means I can watch some great old shows

MSN is content provider. Windows Live is Live services from Microsoft that will gradually integrate with Windows even more over the years.

You should know by now that Microsoft originally wasn't sure what their roadmap was with Windows Live, they were wowed by it too at the time. Well now they are coming to a conclusion and are shutting down many services MSN powers such as Soapbox. They also shutdown Windows Live Expo. They even renamed Windows Live QnA to MSN QnA and then shut it down. So the branding disaster has ended for now, Windows Live Search was to provide ways of finding information, which is why some products were branded as it.

I believe Windows Live QnA was set out to help Bing behind the scenes. Many people used that service while it was always in beta, and Microsoft said it helped them with the feedback and information. I believe the decision engine was designed from what people are looking for on the Internet, the questions and answers on the Windows Live QnA site were being studied by people at Microsoft so they could figure out what Bing should have to help people find information. When MSN QnA closed, it said you could check out Bing for information. People asked questions, for example, how long a cold could last for and how to get rid of it fast. Microsoft designed Bing to provide helpful information as an answer to the question, thanks to studying the Windows Live QnA beta. So now the many services from Live Search have been made available on Bing and some have even integrated itself into the decision engine such as QnA Beta.

So while some services shutdown, they shutdown for the survival of Bing. When this time came, Windows Live had changed a little, the roadmap was only for services that integrate into Windows and make the experience better. Microsoft had fixed the problem where they thought Windows Live was their solution by rebranding MSN to Windows Live, instead they made the two families separate. MSN provides content, it keeps it's original look, and will provide news and videos, etc. Windows Live is a suite of services that make your Windows experience better by providing a connection with people using Windows whether that would be by IMing them, emailing them, showing pictures to them, etc. Bing is an information source that gives you information to what you searched for. Bing will never become Windows Live or take it's services away.


Windows Live Messenger
Windows Live Hotmail
Windows Live Mail
Windows Live Photo Gallery
Windows Live Movie Maker
Windows Live Writer
Windows Live Family Safety
Windows Live Spaces
Windows Live Photos
etc......

MSN Homepage
MSN Video Player
MSN Tech and Gadgets
MSN Autos
etc.....

Bing----- can search, image search, video search, shopping search, news search, maps search, travel search, etc.....


You should get the point from reading all this, it explains Microsoft's roadmap.

Plays fine for me, but then I'm in the UK.

It's more about the policy of the BBC licence rather than MSN though.

Tom W said,
Yeah it's a shame. We have the same when it comes to Hulu :(

there are easy ways into the hulu service such as using hotspot shield, nice free little proxy apps for those of us based here in the UK, for you guys in the US sorry never needed to proxy home so I can't help. Initially it looks good offering a back catalogue is a great idea, need to test some capturing software though see how it fairs, I think Silverlight would be better for HD but just checked an episode of "bottom" (quality I know) on my 26"LCD HDTV main monitor (yeah I hate me too) and it's fine, Woohoo being in the UK has been good for once

Tom W said,
Yeah it's a shame. We have the same when it comes to Hulu :(

Yes, and we don't even have Hulu. It sucks to not live in either US or UK in these cases. And I don't get why they couldn't finance these things with ads for the rest of the world? *shrug* Why avoid the exposure? Sure, maybe not as popular in non-English countries, but guess what -- that means less bandwidth costs implied from these countries too!

"Microsoft is 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."

What does this mean?

whoreman said,
"Microsoft is 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."

What does this mean?

It should mean all the available advertising space has been sold. I think it's just a general good sign, rather than a funding requirement, though.