We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Video software Reviews
15,669 Reviews

Microsoft Soapbox video-sharing site


Manufacturer: Microsoft

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

When we first tried a closed beta version of Microsoft Soapbox in September 2006, we felt that its ease of use and clean interface would help it challenge the web-video leaders.

When we first tried a closed beta version of Microsoft Soapbox in September 2006, we felt that its ease of use and clean interface would help it challenge the web-video leaders.

Now available for general public consumption, Microsoft Soapbox still carries the same potential, and it has also beefed up its integration with Microsoft services.

For example, you can add a Microsoft Soapbox video to an MSN Spaces blog page with just a few clicks, share and watch a video simultaneously with a MSN Messenger instant-messaging contact, and use RSS feeds to view videos on a TV connected to a Media Center PC in full screen. Expect some sort of Zune or Xbox 360 Live integration next.

Despite Microsoft's promotion of its rival Silverlight technology, Soapbox uses Flash 8.0 to encode videos. A Microsoft spokesperson did say that the company will likely be adopting Silverlight for Soapbox at some point in the future. Soapbox lets you upload a large variety of formats (including QuickTime and Xvid), and videos also played back under OS X, in both Firefox and Safari.

Uploading our test file was speedy (about 1 minute), and it was live some 10 minutes later. Video quality was excellent for a Flash video; Microsoft's encoding process seemed to handle the third clip in our test video better than most other sites.

When you watch a video on Soapbox, it's added to a playlist of 20 recently watched videos. This playlist automatically appears as a stylish thumbnail overlay on your video (an easy, although not perfect, way to create a playlist). Overall, the embedded Soapbox player is one of the best-looking we saw (it does place a watermark in the top-right corner of your video). Our one gripe: you can watch a video in full-screen mode from the Soapbox site itself, but the embedded Soapbox player lacks this option.

Microsoft Soapbox Expert Verdict »

Microsoft Windows 2000, Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition, Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Mac OS X v10.4
1GHz processor
Adobe Flash Player 8 or later
screen resolution of 1024x768 or higher and a 256-colour video card
Windows Internet Explorer 6.0 or later with JavaScript enabled, or Firefox 2.0 or later
a 16-bit sound card
  • Ease of Use: We give this item 8 of 10 for ease of use
  • Features: We give this item 7 of 10 for features
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

Soapbox integrates well with Microsoft products like MSN Messenger, but unlike with most video-sharing rivals, embedded video can't be viewed in full-screen mode.

  • Microsoft Zune HD review

    Microsoft Zune HD

    The Microsoft Zune HD is finally here. Well, there. Microsoft's next-generation media player has been launched in the US.

  • 8GB second-generation Microsoft Zune

    8GB second-generation Microsoft Zune

    The first-generation Zune media player that Microsoft released last year was a so-so product with a few nice touches. So the question with the new, second-generation Zune is whether Microsoft is ready to surpass its competition, most notably Apple and its iPods.

  • Microsoft Zune review

    Microsoft Zune

    The timing of the Zune's appearance in the UK remains shrouded in mystery. Are European consumers missing out on a gadget that's, well, unmissable? Not exactly.

  • Microsoft Zune 80GB Media Player

    Microsoft Zune 80GB Media Player

    Wireless synching, good sound quality, and a nice touch control finally make Microsoft's affordable player a good choice. Indeed, for some users the wireless synching will make the 80GB Zune a better bet than the iPod classic.

  • Creative Zen V Plus media player

    Creative Zen V Plus media player

    The Creative Zen V Plus is an iPod-nano killer with a difference: it might actually be better than Apple's media player. Read PC Advisor's review of the the Creative Zen V Plus to find out why.

IDG UK Sites

Best Black Friday 2014 tech deals UK: Latest bargains on phones, tablets, laptops and more this...

IDG UK Sites

Tech trends 2015: 3D printing grows up

IDG UK Sites

25 iOS apps turn (Red) for World AIDS Day campaign

IDG UK Sites

Black Friday 2014 UK: Apple deals, Amazon deals & other Black Friday tech offers