Microsoft launches UK online TV service, lays on the eyecandy

Microsoft launches UK online TV service, lays on the eyecandy

After being in trial mode since last summer, Microsoft is set to officially launch its MSN video player in the UK tomorrow.

The video on demand service competes directly with recently-launched SeeSaw in offering a range of commercial TV shows for viewers to watch for free in their browser. The service is monetised using 30-second preroll ads.

Unlike SeeSaw, Microsoft appears to have done deals with independent TV production companies as opposed to TV stations. As a result, MSN Video Player can’t claim to have a full range of Channel 4 or 5 shows, but what it does have is certainly presented in a much more appealing way than SeeSaw.

Yes, Microsoft has eyecandy on its side here. Large thumbnails of featured shows encourage exploration of shows you might otherwise have not considered. By comparison, SeeSaw looks drab and unappealing. Unfortunately, neither site has the ability to embed shows elsewhere on the web. This is something that helps make Hulu’s long-delayed UK all the more appealing.

Both SeeSaw and MSN Video Player can be seen as children of the cancelled Project Kangaroo video service. SeeSaw features technology acquired from Kangaroo, while MSN’s offering is overseen by former Kangaroo head honcho Ashley Highfield.

Although not officially launched until tomorrow, MSN Video Player is already up and running here.

UPDATE: The site has launched with a different look to the one below, but we still prefer it to to look of SeeSaw.

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