MSNBC.com launched a new version of their video player today. The new player features a wide angle aspect and features a new companion medium rectangle banner ad (300*250) that slides in an out only when in-video ads are served. In other words you will see this ad appear when a pre-roll ad or mid-roll ad appears. This update is really an upgrade to the UI for standard definition, static video content. They have not yet moved live video streams into this format but plan to in the future. In addition, with so much talk these days around high-definition, I am a bit suprised that this was not launched in tandom. However, clearly there is much more to serving HD video online that the player itself.
It does appear that much of the new design borrows from the Hulu.com video player. Hulu was launched back at the end of October this year as a new video site for NBC and FOX.
There is a video that explains the new features located here.
Here is a screenshot of the new player:
Here is a screenshot of the player in full-screen mode:
As for why the video player is still considered to be a BETA, Stokes Young explains on the Alpha Channel blog,
- We are aware of a few glitches with the player but suspect that you might find some more in the coming weeks. All of the research, focus groups, hallway conversations, designing, engineering, doughnuts and testing in the world don't guarantee full success in the wild world we work in. So we ask you first for a liberal dose of feedback and second for a pinch of patience as we keep cranking to get this as perfect as we can.
- We're still chasing in some very important details. Namely: Search (you can, of course, search for our video in the fine interface at MSN Video, our parent and steadfast partner), Embed (coming soon, we promise) and Live (for a little while, at least, our Live video will play outside of this experience).