The U.K. is suddenly awash with online video services vying for attention. And there promises to be even more on the way. Following on from the full launch of SeeSaw, the MSN Video Player has launched after a lengthy period in beta. And it has improved considerably.
Online Video In The U.K.
Online video is veritably booming in the U.K.
The country already has the fantastic BBC iPlayer, my personal favorite 4oD from Channel 4, ITV Player, and Demand Five. And that’s just the catch-up services for the free-to-air terrestrial channels.
There is also Sky Player (for BSkyB subscribers), and the likes of YouTube, SeeSaw, and the MSN Video Player catering for people after older shows online. And Hulu is still endeavoring to kick-start its service in the U.K. as it breaks out of the U.S. and pushes into Europe.
MSN Video Player
Microsoft announced the MSN Video Player in July 2009. The beta version of the fledgling service then launched in August 2009 with an initial 300 hours of content, mostly from BBC Worldwide and All3Media.
Shows on offer from the start included Hustle, Mock the Week, Dead Ringers, That Mitchell and Webb Look, How to Look Good Naked, 10 Years Younger, and Peep Show. All of which were offered for free with advertising support.
- The site has been redesigned, and is now much easier to navigate.
- As well as TV Shows, there are sections dedicated to TV Clips, Movie Trailers, and even the best Viral Video clips.
- There is a lot more content available now than during the beta. It’s still all archive content, but that was always going to be the case.
- Video quality has been vastly improved, with a shift away from Adobe Flash to Microsoft’s own Silverlight technology.
- The Video Player has a Dim Lights feature, as well as the option to share the clip on a number of social networking sites.
Microsoft has clearly used the extended beta period to improve the MSN Video Player considerably. And it has therefore moved several places up the league table. Although there’s no guarantee that there’ll be content on the service you’ll want to watch, the chances are high. And the user experience now makes watching that content more of a pleasure than a chore.
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