Software giant Microsoft Corp launched a new online service in 20 countries on Tuesday that allow users to watch video clips at the same time as a network of friends while chatting via Windows Live Messenger.

The feature, called Messenger TV, lets the user embed content from MSN Video, which is the company's answer to YouTube, into their IM programs and allowing users to watch simultaneously with whomever they're chatting with.

Online video has exploded in popularity over the last year, but to date it has been something people watch on their own. Messenger TV is set to change all that. Watching video online can now be a social experience, as people watch videos together, make comments and share reactions, Microsoft said in a marketing bulletin about Messenger TV.

Messenger TV would offer video clips from MSN Video from sources like MTV and Sony BMG.

Messenger TV is now available in markets including New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Brazil, Canada and Mexico and some European countries. USA for now does not get access to this new service, according to Microsoft.

To start the application, users need to start a regular chat session with a friend via Windows Live Messenger, and then launch Messenger TV from the list of activities within Messenger. A list of available content from MSN Video will appear, from which a playlist can be created.

MessengerTV in the U.K. will display content from National Geographic, Reuters, ITN network, EMI and the UK's Channel 4.