Microsoft is launching a free online video player - the first serious rival to the BBC’s iPlayer
The MSN video player, which goes live tomorrow, will feature a thousand hours of television programming that is aimed mainly at the youth market, young families and professionals.
Rather than providing a “catch-up” service like the iPlayer, where people can watch programmes for only a few days after they are aired, Microsoft says that it will allow viewers to enjoy full series of their favourite shows.
The service is free, but viewers will have to watch single 30-second advertisements before, during and after the programme. The system is available only in the UK.
If you have equipment capable of receiving television, be it internet or broadcast, you need a license. There is no license requirement for radio unless it can be heard by more than one person at a place of employment - in this case, a performing rights license may be required.
Given that the BBC is making the iPlayer available for other broadcasters, this is a completely pointless exercise by Microsoft (unless it is intended as merely a test of technology intended for use elsewhere).
Also I think the BBC do a great job of producing quality programs. People who like the BBC offerings will still use iPlayer, they may also use MSN, but I don't think this will hurt the BBC's market share at all.