Microsoft's take at online video syndication, MSN Video Player, has gone live as a beta service in the UK only where it will complement the likes of BBC iPlayer or ITV Player.
The service which was announced last week comes with 300 hours of free-to-view TV shows including the likes of the League of Gentlemen, Peep Show, Shameless and The Young Ones.
The content is provided by BBC Worldwide and All3media. As noted last week, MSN Video player is the pet project of Ashley Highfield, currently the managing director and vice president of consumer and online at Microsoft UK and the man who made BBC iPlayer famous.
MSN Video Player is supported by advertising but it is understood that future plans could include downloadable content and a premium, paid for service that could possibly include current series and higher definition content.
The adverts on MSN Video Player are roughly the length of their TV equivalents and will occur at the beginning and at the end of an episode or programme. It appears that the player doesn't currently have parental control settings like on other online video players.
Right now, the quality of the service is poor both in terms of the content itself and the distribution. Microsoft did not launch long enough before Hulu makes a splash next month as it is enters the UK market. Microsoft should try to rally other UK broadcasters around it as Hulu will threaten them.