NBC to Offer TV Downloads on Own Site

Shortly after deciding to pull all of its content from Apple's popular iTunes store, entertainment company NBC has announced today that it plans to launch a service called NBC Direct next month offering free, ad-supported downloads of its shows. "With the creation of this new service, we are acknowledging that now, more than ever, viewers want to be in control of how, when and where they consumer their favorite entertainment," said Vivi Zigler, executive VP of NBC Digital Entertainment, in a statement. "Not only does this feature give them more control, but it also gives them a higher quality video experience."

Viewers may want to be in control but that doesn't mean NBC is ready to put them in control. NBC Direct will only be available for Windows computers initially and will contain ads that cannot be skipped. Furthermore, NBC's digital rights management scheme will terminate the ability to view downloaded shows a week after broadcast. The shows that will be available at launch include Heroes, The Office, Life, Bionic Woman, 30 Rock, Friday Night Lights, Late Night with Conan O'Brien and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. At some later date, NBC Direct will allow Macintosh users to view its DRM protected files and to transfer them to portable devices. NBC also said that it is planning to make high definition content available through a closed peer-to-peer distribution network. In 2008, it plans to offer its content under several business models including download-to-own, rental and subscription.

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22 Comments

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I mean they have to compete with bittorrent / rapidshare.com but i'm not sure how they would do it and still make money :-(

Correct me if I am wrong, but weren't NBC shows being sold by Apple, then dropped by Apple, because NBC wanted Apple to increase the price way more than Apple thought they should be, ans hence NBC was dropped by Apple.

Now we get them "free", with advertisements..... for how long and why are they saying free when they have ads included???

I just can't get excited about this at all, but who watches regular network programming anyway.

Get a TIVO or VMC and you can do the same thing, painlessly.

and why are they saying free when they have ads included???

Well, this is just a wild guess and may be way off target, but I'm thinking that just MAYBE... just maybe.. it's because you don't have you .. you know... pay for it... or well that coulnd't possibly be why they call it free could it ?

I don't see what the fuss is about with having commercials. It's the sponsors paying for this that are allowing you to download them. If it's anything like what ABC does, it's a-ok with me because it's two or three 20-30 second commercials. If it ends up being five minutes worth of commercials, then it gets more annoying and I think people have something to gripe about. Other than that, they're giving you a free choice here. Quit crying, sheesh.

HawkMan said,
YES, how dare they let you download ad supported show for free nad high quality... it's an outrage.

And don't forget, if you let them inject an intelligence-reducing virus into your testicles, you can watch their programs free for a month! A deal you can't refuse!

HawkMan said,
YES, how dare they let you download ad supported show for free nad high quality... it's an outrage.

it is an outrage when you consider that most people were more than willing to pay $1.99 to download the episode ad-free and watch is as many times as they like for as long as they like.

Shadrack said,
No one is forcing you to do anything. If you don't like it you don't have to download it.

oh really?
Captain Obvious seems to think that that was a written invitation
nah, just teasing, of cause, i was just RATING IT....
no1 can forbid me to spread my legally accepted meaning :)

Glassed Silver:mac

Not surprising. It looks like Universal (Nbc Universal & Universal Music Group) is broadening its options should they ever decide to pull out of iTunes. I wish they would've considered BitTorrent instead of a proprietary closed network for their HD content.

the ads that cannot be skipped make perfect sense i dont see why your complaining, they have to get money somehow, and since u can download it for free, they had to put some ads in it.

i would still rather pay $2 for a full episode without commercials....

and how long before someone strips there drm? so we can watch them commercial less?

spacer said,
NBC is a US TV station, what did you expect?

In Canada we get NBC through cable and over the air (depending on if we are close enough to an affiliate broadcast tower on the bordering states). Just like FOX, CBS, and ABC. Some of them even run commercials advertising for stuff in Canada!