Microsoft's free video streaming service - MSN Video Player - is now available as a beta in the UK.

Announced last week, the video-on-demand service offers 300 hours of free-to-view TV shows including the League of Gentlemen, Peep Show, Shameless and The Young Ones. Content is available from the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, and All3Media.

The BBC iPlayer competitor aims to be the UK's top video-on-demand destination, Ashley Highfield, managing director and vice president of consumer and online at Microsoft UK, said last week. Available to UK viewers only, the service will be supported by advertising, with short commercials preceding 30-minute programmes, and a commercial break featuring in programmes of an hour or longer.

MSN Video Player is now live on MSN's site.

MSN Video Player UK