back to article Tesco gets Flash of Silverlight in 'virtual DVD' deal

Microsoft has inked a deal with UK mega-grocer Tesco to flog a new home viewing service built on the software firm's Silverlight technology - which MS developers recently shunned at the launch of its Flash-only MSN video player. Financial terms of the agreement were kept secret. The retail giant will begin offering "digital …


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  1. MarkOne

    And so...

    Microsoft's bullying tactics continue in new sectors.

    How long before the first anti-competitive EU lawsuit in this business sector? How long before the details of the deal emerge, "Sorry, you need to use Internet Explorer to use Tesco Direct"...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So what am I buying, Silverlight or a DVD?

    Good that the UK is finally getting into legal movie downloads, bad that it seems to be some sort of marketing exercise for Silverlight and not a commercial enterprise (which would use Flash because Flash is Ubiquitous and silver light is the wanna be).

    Presumably it will be a disappointing selection of old movies that Microsoft has licensed to market Silverlight with?

    Is the main sell to the customer, Silverlight or the DVD?

  3. northern monkey


    ..this means the possibility of pressure from tesco will mean microsoft will maintain their current "we'll not do you for patent infringement, yet" stance with respect to moonlight, or the powers that be at tesco are too IT illiterate to know what moonlight and mono are and expect that people "should just get windows".

    Unfortunately it's probably the latter.

  4. Rod MacLean

    Sounds like a waste of time to me

    I can buy a movie but then only watch it on my home computer?

    What if I want to take it around to a friends? Can it be watched on multiple machines?

    If not then it's crap. If it can be then how? Password? That's a security flaw inherent from the outside. I'll stick to DVDs - less FUD involved.

  5. dracnoc


    The last thing I purchased from Tesco was my 19" monitor - it was a good price too. Shame I will never be using it to view their new service.

    Apart from the fact I run a Linux box, I have no interest in wasting my time or money with a video (or music) service that restricts me on what device I watch it, where I want to watch it and when.

    If Tesco has any sense, they would see that this service is going to die in about 18-24 months anyway, it seems like another half-hearted attempt by MS to get into the video market. Their idea of DRM is one of the oldest on-going jokes in the IT world, and it will be broken just like all the other attempts to lock content.

  6. The Original Steve


    Two points:

    1. Silverlight works in IE, Safari, FireFox, SeaMonkey, Opera and Chrome - on Windows, Mac and to a limited degree, Linux. It also works / in development on Windows Mobile and Symbian S60 and S40 platforms.

    2. Since when is paying a company to use your technology bullying?! Adobe could do the same, but since they have a complete monopoly in this area already there wouldn't be much point.

  7. Rob Beard


    I guess technically when Mono and Moonlight catch up then this may well work on Linux, but even then I doubt I'd be interested. I prefer my video on a physical disk which I can put in a nice case on a shelf and admire.

    Last thing I want is DRM infected video that will only play on one PC. It's bad enough having DRM on DVD and Bluray.

    Hang on though, didn't this article mention Bluray?

    I wonder if Microsoft are finally biting the bullet and offering support for Bluray at last?


  8. Chris C

    re: And so...

    "How long before the details of the deal emerge, 'Sorry, you need to use Internet Explorer to use Tesco Direct'..."

    Not necessarily. It could use the .NET Framework plugin for Firefox that Microsoft installs without your consent or notification.

    On another note, I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- if I want to watch a movie, I'll do so on my big-screen TV and surround sound system, not my small-by-comparison monitor and computer speakers.

  9. ScottME

    Who needs this?

    We're a Mac and Linux household, so we won't be able to use this service, but that's OK because we wouldn't want it anyway.

  10. Goat Jam

    No Soup For You

    This will never run on mono/moonlight because you can bet dollars for doughnuts that it will involve DRM which will never make it into an OSS project.

    Not that I'm going to miss it mind you. Wouldn't want to purchase movies in such a crappy fashion anyway.

  11. J 3

    A problem with digital...

    The main problem I see with downloads is that they cost a only little less than the physical thing (I've seen at least a couple of absurd cases where downloads were MORE expensive than the disks), while at the same time they restrict your freedom of using the thing (OK, not always, vis-a-vis DRM-free MP3s), have less features, usually less quality, and eliminate the possibility of taking your old stuff to the shop to sell/trade when you get sick of it. Or lending it to a friend. Or selling at a yard sale. Whatever.

    The media companies must love it though, no second-hand market, everyone must buy their copy new and fresh (or do it the illegal way), no matter how old the item.

  12. janimal


    Presumably they mean anti-piracy messages in 150 languages and endless trailers that you don't want to watch and can't forward through, followed up by a bunch of adverts.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    makes me laugh

    All the Commentards moaning about how this won't work on Linux are probably the same ones telling everyone who moans that their Windows games wont work on linux that they should just STFU and get XP on VM or WINE and that way they need never boot into windows again.

    Sorry Linux Zealots, the MAJORITY of [normal] people use windows at home, this service will [probably] install al the required stuff silently behind the scenes [OK, apart from the re-boots] and the AVERAGE home PC user just WONT CARE.

    Linux is great for server applications or the [superior feeling] enthusiast who tells everyone how they dont have to worry about virii or malware or whatever because they have the best OS in the world, meanwhile the rest of the real world will stil not give a flying fuck and just cleck the "e" to get onto t'internet.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    @ many

    Maybe they will be

    a) offered in ADDITION to the DVD (no idea why though)

    b) offered at a reduced rate, e.g a couple of quid a time, to appeal to people like me, who really don't give a shit if the movie is 6 months old and occasionally buy one for £3.

    I'm pretty sure Tesco know what they are doing, then again, pah what do they know about business, everyone here is so much more succesful.

    Here is news for the Linux people here. There probebrly is a higher proportion of Muslims in this country than Linux users, but most Tesco's don't sell halal meat. So should they stop selling meat all together because it doesn't cater for their needs. Tesco's is a business and unlike the BBC, have no obligation what so ever to cater for the minority. If you don't like it, you don't use it. End of.

    As many Linux people are so anti DRM and the studios are so Pro DRM, it's unlikely in the near future you will get these services. Get used to it.

  15. Wila

    Won't work on PPC OSX

    Power PC OS X boxes are excluded from the latest Silverlight. Sorry we serve only Silverlight 1.0, no soup for you. Yes it will work on Snow Leopard, but for one or the other reason I'm not installing it.

    Same on Linux x64, "You might want to try the alpha version" Yeah right and we "might" want to run bleeding edge kernels, but not on any of my production machines...

  16. The Indomitable Gall

    Why Silverlight? Why DRM?

    Services like MSN video can't get the "big guns" -- there may be some decent stuff on there (I wouldn't know), but it's not blockbuster territory.

    The big studios are scared of opening Pandoro's Box with "unprotected" downloads, so they need calmed with talk of DRM. Just as in the case of music, they are ignoring the fact that people who're into free copying can just download ISOs of a physical disc from the net.

    But never mind.

    Let's all just sit back and relax, because this is going to pan out exactly like music did.

    They'll discover that there's an online market after getting fairly high sales through Tesco. They'll wonder why that market's restricted and ignore people saying "It's the DRM, stupid". The early adopters will upgrade their PCs/media players and discover how much hassle it is to reactivate. People will realise that they can't play them on the iPod Touch. All that sort of thing.

    Bosses will *finally* realise that "It's the DRM, stupid".

    Of course, both the technology and market are more mature now than in the early days of iTunes, so the cycle will be much quicker -- I reckon video downloads will be DRM free by 2012.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If this works on linux/moonlight, I'd be interested in seeing if it works on my mythtv box with it's surround sound and videoprojector. I wouldn't have a problem downloading a film with a one-off payment if it was something I didn't want to own long term or share with friends and the price was right. I do however have a problem with giving any money to Tesco the evil, loss leading, community destroying, sweat shop operating scumbags. Still, at least they keep the riff raff out of Waitrose... ;)

  18. Anonymous Coward

    How does this work with ISP's that throttle?

    Not entirely related but.....

    Being on a Virgin Media connection, what would the quality of the film be like, and could I watch one or more of these in any 24 hour period without getting throttled?

    Wouldn't be much cop to get partway through a film only to find it starting to buffer every 5 minutes because your connection had dropped down to a few KB/s.

    Of course, I might have been downloading a completely legitimate game I'd purchased through Steam earlier in the day and been watching a few TV programmes on iPlayer.

    Perhaps ISPs will start to see that throttling isn't entirely practical or convenient when people can legitimately use up a few gigs in a few hours, stream legitimately purchased media, watch iPlayer etc.

  19. sleepy

    Move on, nothing to see here . .

    . . just MS buying some Silverlight installs out of OS/Office monopoly revenues.

  20. richard 7
    Paris Hilton


    “We believe this alliance will offer consumers in the UK, and eventually additional markets, the opportunity to download a digital copy that is truly the equivalent of a physical disk"

    Except its NOTHING at all like it. Can I pop it in the DVD player in the caravan: NO

    Can I watch it on my too slow to deal with Silverlight but plays DVDs laptop: NO

    Can I take it over to my mates and sit down and watch it with them : NO

    When my Hard drive lets go, will it still be on the shelf with my other DVDs : NO

    Those of you pointing out that Tesco must know what they are doing, I suggest you go work for them for a few months. After a few days trying to use a think client over a 64K IDSN line to run word, you'll be crying too. This is just two big players doing 'you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours' Hell if I had the clout of MS I'd be trying to do it too.

    Paris - sure she likes her big players....

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You could level the same thing at Adobe re: PPC Flash on linux, the argument is something along the lines of there aren't enough people using the platform to make it worth while. As it goes, I don't think that either Adobe, MS or Apple give a crap about the owners of PPC hardware, which is a shame, becuase I'm not slinging out a grand's worth of G5, just because it's three or four years old, it's still a perfectly good computer.

  22. Bernie 2


    It's the same video streaming tech we've had for years only it runs on crappy software no one has or wants.

    Sounds tempting


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