Microsoft hasn’t made much of a song and dance about its MSN Video service, but a quick peek at the A-Z list of full TV shows on offer reveals a decent-sized library of archive material.
As with SeeSaw and YouTube, most of the shows come from Channel 4 and the BBC, with staples such as Location, Location, Location nestled alongside vintage Doctor Who episodes starring Tom Baker.
MSN Video also has a Movies section, although this is stuffed full of film trailers and not the full-length films you’ll find on YouTube.
Microsoft needs to provide a more thorough package if it wants to match YouTube
On the plus side, the adverts don’t come as thick and fast as they do on YouTube, and the picture quality on offer from the Silverlight-based player isn’t too shabby either.
The streams are rate-adaptive, with Silverlight perhaps being a little too clever with its attempts to match the picture quality to the available bandwidth: pictures frequently flip from fuzzy to pin-sharp on even steady broadband connections.
But when it does settle down to maximum bandwidth, the pictures are perfectly sharp on a 13in laptop screen and passable on a 38in TV.
Elsewhere, there’s little in the way of features. There’s no option to download shows or adjust the picture quality. There’s no parental control feature, either, with Microsoft merely demanding your date of birth before granting access to the post-watershed shows.
It isn’t bad, but Microsoft needs to provide a more thorough package if it wants to match YouTube.
Internet TV software reviewed:
4 on Demand
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