Microsoft launches YouTube alternative, powered by Silverlight!

This week, Microsoft has deployed a major new feature on SkyDrive -- an online video player for your video files!

Upload a video file to SkyDrive, and you can instantly play it online direct from its page on SkyDrive. I recommend WMV format for best results. Your existing video files on SkyDrive will now be surfaced online through the new video player. Example below! ;)


The folks in the Windows Live team may not even fully appreciate the significance of this move. It was launched very quietly, with no big announcements. Yet SkyDrive video is now, in effect, a very good alternative to YouTube for many videos-- something that many people have been wanting for a very long time. Furthermore, the embedded video player is powered by Silverlight instead of Flash. The new SkyDrive video player is just version 1.0, so we can expect it to get even better in the future.

I've been lobbying for this feature ever since SkyDrive first launch and, by some bizarre coincdence or synchronicity, I blogged about this feature request yesterday just when it was being released in! All they need to do now is offer HTML code that you can copy and paste to embed the video (the current embed code just shows the old video file icon).

Why hasn't the new SkyDrive video player been announced or even mentioned officially yet? Perhaps Microsoft are saving the news for their imminent announcement of the new Hotmail, because of course the integration with SkyDrive will mean you can watch videos you receive by email without having to download them. Perhaps, also, it's no coincidence that this has happened during the preview of Windows Live Essentials in which everything including the new Movie Maker software seamlessly integrates with SkyDrive. MS did announce today that they will be launching online web app versions of 85% to 90% of their software products this decade. Welcome to the future! (The official blog post anticipating the new features in Windows Live Wave 4 didn't even mention the video player. The best I could find today was a blog post by a user, a tech-loving granny!) MS never has been much good at promoting the cool stuff it does.


10 June 2010

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cool feature! I use Live Sync (Foldershare) but haven't really explorer SkyDrive. Btw, what did you used to render the halo reach video? I can't until the real game launches.

Tim Acheson (11 Jun 10, 09:28)

Yeah, the video player on SkyDrive is a nice feature.

To generate that video from Halo: Reach, I just used the feature built into the game, and the render to video feature on the game studio's website.

Tim Acheson (13 Jun 10, 13:10)

Interestingly, the guys over at the LiveSide blog were informed of the new features, by a Gadgetgran who participates in the Clubhouse community:

Gadgetgran's blog post:!2418D1CD90C52C20!9179.entry

LiveSide's blog post:

Windows Clubhouse:

Clubhouse on Spaces:

bharadwaj b.g (14 Jun 10, 19:25)

Microsoft a COPYCAT and alway practised LATE-ENTRIES OR followed GATE CRASHing methods still flopped no buyers.

Gates Quotes on Internet
In 1993 - The Internet? We are not interested in it
In 1995 - "The internet is just a passing fad"

late entries into Browser, Hotmail buyout and flopped, search engine bing and you name all of them...

Tried it, amazing! It really works. But it seems unable to stream avc files (mp4/h264/aac) even tought microsoft said that it's part of the silverlight specifications :\

Well wmv/vc1/wma2 works perfectly.

Do you have a source for either of those quotes, or are you just making things up / spreading rumours

Tim Acheson (16 Jun 10, 13:29)

Hi again, Gravemind! SkyDrive won't display the video player for some file types, but that doesn't mean the video wouldn't play in the Silverlight player if the option were to be displayed. Can you give me an example of one of some of your H.264/MP4 video files on your SkyDrive?

If you use a Silverlight 2 video player like the one I use on this website, it will not support as many media formats. I reccomend upgrading yuor player to Silverlight 3 for best results with additional media formats. :)

Tim Acheson (16 Jun 10, 13:31)

bharadwaj, you are basing youf conclusions on false information. It is insightful to note that the same is is true of most anti-MS comments on the web.

Well I have Silverlight 4.0.50524.0

Also the files streams perfectly on other silverlight players.

There is a mp4 (h264/aac) video file I just uploaded!537

And the original WMV wich works on skydrive!538

Tim Acheson (19 Jun 10, 07:34)

Interesting, looks like SkyDrive is using an earlier version of Silverlight. I guess that would increase the proportion of people who already have it installed.

Hi there, im liking the sound of this feature but i dont have some questions regarding it. If I upload a .mp4 file would this be played as a mp4? also would a direct link work to the file if i gave it out? says i gave someone not in my contacts a link to a video could they just watch it like youtube and other sites?

Tim Acheson (16 Dec 10, 12:18)

Hi Sprog, yes anybody can access any file you put on SkyDrive, or watch your video if you give them a direct link, as long as the file is in a folder with public access granted. You can set the permission on any root folder in SkyDrive, for instance I put all public stuff in a foot-level folder called "Public" on which I have set the permission level to public.

they currently only display the player on SkyDrive if it's a WMV file. You can quickly and easily convert video files to WMV format using Windows Movie Maker which comes with Windows, and there's plenty of free third-party software out there too.

It's worth noting that you can also embed your own player for video files hosted on SkyDrive, as demonstrated in my blog post on that topic.


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