Microsoft launches UK video player

By Julian Clover

Microsoft has announced its entrance into the online TV market with a new UK platform that will stream full-length TV shows.

The new version of the MSN Video Player will go live next week and will include over 300 hours of content. Output deals have been made with BBC Worldwide and the independent producer All3Media, which has Channel 4 programmes Peep Show and Shameless to its name.

Significantly, the beta version of the service will use the Windows Media (WMV) and Flash video formats rather than its own Silverlight video technology.

The Microsoft executive behind the project is none other than Ashley Highfield, the former BBC Future Media head and CEO of the failed Project Kangaroo, who is now Microsoft’s managing director and vice president of consumer and online.

The platform is advertising supported and will be geographically restricted to the UK.