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  (Source: NBC)
NBC has found a new home for its TV content:

It may be nearing the end of summer, but last week proved particularly heated, as media giants Apple and NBC Universal exchanged terse statements.

The dispute began when NBC Universal decided not to renew its contract to sell its TV content on iTunes.  DailyTech reported on Friday, that the two parties were parting ways, and that after the contract's expiration in December, iTunes would no longer sell NBC's TV programming, including the popular shows, "Heroes," “30 Rock” and "The Office."

NBC openly admitted that much of the dispute was over pricing, as well as NBC wanting the ability to package content together as it chose.

The split was not the first between Apple and a major media provider.  In June, the
Universal Music Group of Vivendi (UMG) announced that it would not be renewing its contract with iTunes, and would no longer sell its music on iTunes.  The move was thought to be partially instigated by Apple's slow adoption of DRM-free music technology.  UMG's artists included pop, rock, and rap acts such Akon, Rhianna and U2.

NBC was the first major television content producer to drop iTunes, though. 
ABC, CBS, FOX and The CW, along with more than 50 cable networks still provided shows with iTunes.  Further, NBC was one of iTunes' largest content providers, providing 30% of iTunes sales of TV content.

DailyTech recently chronicled the next episode in the Apple and NBC saga, with the breaking news that the conflict heating up, following the release of a statement from Apple.  Apple claimed in its statement that NBC had demanded an astronomic 150% price increase from $1.99 per episode, to $4.99 episode.  Further Apple decided to drop NBC's content early, in September, before the start of the next television season.

iTunes VP Eddy Cue is quoted by DailyTech as saying, "We are disappointed to see NBC Universal leave iTunes because we would not agree to their dramatic price increase, we hope they will change their minds and offer their TV shows to the tens of millions of iTunes customers."

Now there is more headline news in the evolving drama between Apple and NBC, with the entry of a new player: reports that NBC plans to sell its content through Amazon's Amazon Unbox service, in a "variety of packages". 

Pricing and terms were not disclosed, but many speculate that offered some of the concessions in price increases that iTunes would not.  Also, the announcement clearly indicates that Amazon is willing to provide NBC with the ability to control its show's content, something Apple would not do.  The article also states that NBC had been unhappy with Apple's failure to provide stronger anti-piracy measures.

While NBC did not specify prices for episodes under the new agreement, it did mention that there would be discounts to customers purchasing entire seasons of NBC TV shows.  Also pilot episodes will be available to download free of charge.

Fans of NBC programming can be happy to know that they will be able to download the TV shows--from someplace--though they may have to pay more for it.

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The fact is
By FITCamaro on 9/5/2007 9:18:43 AM , Rating: 5
If you want to buy TV shows, its still better to buy them on DVD on rip them to your hard drive, convert them to Divx/xvid, and stream them, than to buy them through iTunes or anything else. The cost is pretty much the same (maybe cheaper), the quality will be better, and you have a hard copy backup in case your hard drive dies.

RE: The fact is
By Christobevii3 on 9/5/2007 9:33:24 AM , Rating: 5
Plus it keeps our interwebnets tubes free which will save FREEDOM!

RE: The fact is
By Polynikes on 9/5/2007 12:55:15 PM , Rating: 2
... for the win!

Don't forget that part!

RE: The fact is
By phaxmohdem on 9/5/2007 1:01:48 PM , Rating: 2
Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I thought it was lottery balls that keep the intertubes clear.

RE: The fact is
By Pythias on 9/6/2007 5:17:48 PM , Rating: 2
I should write something dirty here, but my wife is behind me cleaning her rifle.

RE: The fact is
By Belegost on 9/5/07, Rating: 0
RE: The fact is
By kelmon on 9/5/2007 10:51:10 AM , Rating: 2
Indeed. Physical media is great but the ripping process is a pain. It's not difficult to do, particularly with ripping applications typically providing handy presets for devices like the iPod and PSP, but it just takes so sodding long to do and ties up your computer that I'm happy to pay for someone else to do this work for me, not to mention adding all the meta-data. Mind you, ripping is one of the few things that I do on my Core 2 Duo laptop that actually pushes the processor to the limit so at least I'm making it work for me.

RE: The fact is
By JonnyDough on 9/5/2007 12:07:17 PM , Rating: 2
Then again, you're not utilizing a quad core desktop processor power for decoding and encoding is likely to soon be a thing of the past soon anyway, even with HD.

RE: The fact is
By JoshuaBuss on 9/5/2007 12:57:17 PM , Rating: 2
to be fair, it's much faster to rip and encode and backup and make a cup of coffee than it is to download tv shows

RE: The fact is
By afkrotch on 9/5/2007 9:48:15 PM , Rating: 2
I feel sorry that you have a slow ass connection.

RE: The fact is
By obsideus on 9/5/2007 10:13:12 PM , Rating: 3
I have a 15 mbps connection - and it does indeed take longer to download the TV show from iTunes than it does to rip them. Say I download the entire season, at 480mb per show.. so 23 shows... I could rip and encode the DVD before I get all of those downloaded. Ripping / encoding only takes about 15 - 20 minutes on my system.

RE: The fact is
By spluurfg on 9/6/2007 3:34:12 PM , Rating: 2
Really? Even if 23 shows at 480mb each (11GB) could fit on one DVD, ripping and encoding in 20 minutes is pretty fast... My comp would probably take 10 minutes or more just to rip it... but hey, maybe you have an ubercomp.

The pain though, is that they always package maybe four episodes per DVD, to try and dupe the consumer into thinking they're getting a nice big box set with lots of discs, even though it could all fit on two DVDs. So constantly having to swap disks is irritating.

While I don't doubt that ripping+encoding is faster even with a great connection, there is something convenient about downloading... and not having to go out and buy the stuff or have it shipped to you if you're lucky enough to be able to be home to sign for packages Mon-Fri.

RE: The fact is
By oab on 9/7/2007 7:48:55 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, it could fit on two DVDs if it were not encoded as MPEG2, which is the DVD standard.

You could compress the show more, but then it would look fairly ass-like. The resolution is a fixed size, so you can only change the compression setting.

I can watch factory-pressed DVDs on my dvd player, and in the backgrounds of the scenes, I can quite often see compression-artefacts from 8+ feet with my TV. They are also not resolution artefacts, it is definitely compression. (multiple DVD sets, multiple encoding companies, multiple shows, by multiple publishers).

That's part of the reason for the switch to HD-DVD/Blu-Ray (may the best format be a dual-format player). Higher resolutions, greater colour spectrum, better sound, all the Best-Buy FABs that they spout on TV adverts.

RE: The fact is
By FITCamaro on 9/5/2007 1:26:39 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know about you, but I know my Core 2 Duo @ 3GHz can do a 40-45 minute Boston Legal episode in about 30 minutes. So yes it still might take a bit of time, but you just start the encode before you go to bed, and by the time you get home the next day from work, its all done. Even if its not, with a dual core, your computer is still responsive to browsing the web and such.

If you have a 2nd PC as I do, you just use that for encoding. You can easily build an encoding box for extremely cheap these days. An X2 3800+ with a gig of RAM is more than enough. I have one right now(albeit running at 1GHz instead of 2 for some reason, still working on it), and it takes about an hour and a half to encode a friends episode. Once I get the clock speed to the proper speed, it'll do it in half that. And the cheapest X2 you can get now is the 4200+ which will be faster.

RE: The fact is
By Lightning III on 9/5/2007 10:20:35 AM , Rating: 2
I just use itunes, if I forgot to set up my HTPC or if I get thwarted by some microshaft security update

an occasional BSG or Hero's is all I need

RE: The fact is
By Kuroyama on 9/5/2007 11:11:04 AM , Rating: 2
Why would you pay to watch something from iTunes if it's already on DVD? For instance, I can understand watching episodes of BSG a few days after they're broadcast if you don't have cable, but I certainly wouldn't pay $2 an episode for something I could rent on DVD for far cheaper.

RE: The fact is
By plinden on 9/5/2007 12:28:02 PM , Rating: 2
Why would you pay to watch something from iTunes if it's already on DVD? For instance, I can understand watching episodes of BSG a few days after they're broadcast...

You just answered your own question. As far as I can tell BSG season 3 isn't even out on DVD yet (it's not available on Netflix or Amazon).

Cable costs us $55/month. 55x12/23 = 28 different shows over the year. We don't watch that much TV. Pretty much everything we do watch is on iTunes, except for some of our kids' favorite shows. If we didn't "need" the children's channels for our kids, it would be cheaper for us to dump cable and get everything on iTunes.

RE: The fact is
By LogicallyGenius on 9/6/07, Rating: 0
By MPE on 9/5/2007 10:18:49 AM , Rating: 2
I love how Apple complains about pricing. They make themselves look like angels and protecting the consumer when their HARDWARE costs a lot of money but the content providers are devils because of their price increase.

They dont care about consumers. They care that increased pricing for content means iTunes is not as attractive. iTunes not being as attractive means their hardware is not as attractive. And we know Apple is a HARDWARE company. Right?

RE: Apple
By jrb531 on 9/5/2007 10:37:45 AM , Rating: 2
I agree 100% but never forget that in big business there is no one who really cares about the consumer!

Now they may try and pretend but as you suggest... Apple rips us off on hardware and they are getting per download fees so they want cheaper downloads as makes for more sales thus more profit for Apple. NBC wants more profit so they want to ream us on the price.

IMHO 99 cents for a song is a much better deal as you will most likely listen to that song over and over and over. For $1.99 you watch the save TV show how many times?

The rip off here is how they get suckers to pay $1.99 for a show they will usually only watch one time. I guess you can say that a song is only 4-5 minutes long and a TV show 20 or 50 minutes but NBC has some gaul thinking they can get people to pay more than $2 for a TV show.

Want to prove them both wrong? Just say no to this crap. Stop paying these crazy prices!


RE: Apple
By JonnyDough on 9/5/2007 12:12:19 PM , Rating: 2
"I agree 100% but never forget that in big business there is no one who really cares about the consumer!"

I care. Let me rephrase that. I relate. I don't really care if someone I don't know gets ripped off or not though.

RE: Apple
By randomlinh on 9/5/2007 11:55:09 PM , Rating: 2
And I buy a DVD and watch it once, what's the difference?

I'm paying $2 to have it auto-queued and commercial free, w/o the need to cut out the commercials myself.

I really don't see the problem paying for a show I really enjoy watching.

Sure, I could also do TIVO, but I don't get HD, so sadly, the iTS stuff is better quality. And again, this doesn't really support a show I really enjoy and want to see continue.

RE: Apple
By kelmon on 9/5/2007 10:59:05 AM , Rating: 2
I do agree that Apple wants the content prices cheap so that people will buy their hardware but it's worth bearing in mind here that the download price has to be competitive to the DVD price. NBC's reportedly desired price hike would make the downloads uncompetitive compared to the DVD price so that's no good to anyone.

NBC are "devils" in this story for being idiots (re: the requested price) and wanting more DRM when customers are demanding less. Of course Apple cares about the consumer in the same way that any other company does - it knows that they have to keep the consumer happy if they want them to use their services. You won't find a different attitude from anyone else.

RE: Apple
By plinden on 9/5/2007 12:34:35 PM , Rating: 3
I love how Apple complains about pricing. They make themselves look like angels and protecting the consumer when their HARDWARE costs a lot of money but the content providers are devils because of their price increase.

They dont care about consumers. They care that increased pricing for content means iTunes is not as attractive. iTunes not being as attractive means their hardware is not as attractive. And we know Apple is a HARDWARE company. Right?

Ok, let's get past the Apple hate for a moment and look at the facts.

1. Buying video from iTunes for $1.99 gives you DRM'ed video that you can play on five different computers (effectively unlimited since you can de-authorize one computer and authorize another one at any time) and unlimited video iPods.

2. The iTunes video will only play on iPods, but will play on any Windows or OS X computer, so you don't have to buy any Apple hardware.

3. Unbox DRM allows you play on only two computers and only two mobile devices. There's no mixing of accounts.

4. Unbox content only plays on Windows.

So, we've gone from a restrictive DRM (iTunes) to a much more restrictive DRM (Unbox).

And you complain about Apple?

RE: Apple
By MPE on 9/5/2007 3:49:02 PM , Rating: 2
1 & 2 - And? It does not change the fact that iTunes main purpose is to serve the iPod economy. Anything beyond that - like Windows desktop playback - is the side effect of expanding the iPod economy.

3. So? Bad DRM in one company does not justify or make Bad DRM from another company 'good'.

4. No one said MS is good.

Yes complain about Apple.

The reality is, in order to expand digital distribution capitalistic forces must kick in. Apple having a strangle hold on the major content will not help.

NBC's price change is a short term downside. In the long term, natural market forces (demand and supply) will regulate it. Apple controlling pricing for content they do not provide in order to serve their HARDWARE economy is a myopic.

Without outside pressure (independent labels, consumers and artist) you think Apple would have offered no DRM music?

Stop defending Apple. Other company's stupidity is no justification.

RE: Apple
By plinden on 9/5/2007 4:23:10 PM , Rating: 1
1 & 2 - And? It does not change the fact that iTunes main purpose is to serve the iPod economy. Anything beyond that - like Windows desktop playback - is the side effect of expanding the iPod economy.

So what? Apple is in the business of making money. If their plan is to expand the "iPod economy" why does it bother you? If it makes good business sense, why not? If it gives the consumer a better experience, why not? It doesn't change the fact that you don't have to buy Apple hardware to view video bought on iTunes. But you have to buy Windows to view Unbox content.

3. So? Bad DRM in one company does not justify or make Bad DRM from another company 'good'.

I sense you're missing the point. Things have just got a hell of a lot worse for consumers. And it's not Apple's fault.

4. No one said MS is good.

And I didn't say MS was bad. Again, you miss the point that you can no longer watch NBC video on Macs or iPods (70% of the portable player market). How is this Apple's fault again?

Yes complain about Apple.

Because they refused to roll over and agree to NBCs draconian demands? Sure, Apple's not doing it out of the goodness of Jobs' heart, but if it makes good business sense for Apple to provide a better consumer experience, how is that bad again?

RE: Apple
By wupta on 9/6/2007 8:19:44 AM , Rating: 3
Content providers can and should decide the price that they want their product sold for. Consumers can decide to purchase or not. Apple is interested in selling it's products which are expensive and if it can provide cheap content well then it has succeeded in it business model.

RE: Apple
By MPE on 9/6/2007 11:14:08 AM , Rating: 2
If their plan is to expand the "iPod economy" why does it bother you?

Because you are letting a HARDWARE company dictate CONTENT pricing. That makes as much sense as letting Texas Instrument dictating the price of movie ticket.

Things have just got a hell of a lot worse for consumers. And it's not Apple's fault.

You are myopic. When one company controls the hardware AND content pricing it is not good for the consumer in the long term. Never has. This gives one company too much power in the industry and the extended economy.
What happens if Apple decided to launch a Super iPod for $700 and in order to keep it attractive wants $.25 pricing for music? Which intern means less money for artist, producers, record label receptionist, assistant just out of college and all the people involve in to producing and delivering music. Again, you fail to see beyond your iPod and $.99/dl needs.

And I didn't say MS was bad. Again, you miss the point that you can no longer watch NBC video on Macs or iPods (70% of the portable player market). How is this Apple's fault again?

Because APPLE IS DICTATING PRICE FOR WHAT THEY DO NOT CREATE. They are using their hardware muscle to strong arm the content industry.

Let me put it this way. What if EA controls 80% of the video game market. Now they want to charge $200 per game. But to keep it attractive, they want all companies computers and consoles that play EA games to price the console at $20. Great for the consumers but totally fucked for the rest of the industry.

Low price is great but it must be viable to the business. And Apple is not the only business.

Because they refused to roll over and agree to NBCs draconian demands?

Yea but Apple had exclusive agreement of NBC content.
Not like Apple had to distribute NBC product only. Basically, NBC and others are sick of the one way street pricing. Apple can make millions from their hardware without any limitation while NBC and the rest cant.

And if you did not know by now - CONTENT is what really sells hardware.

Would you have bought a $500 8800 GTX card if the only game you can play was Pong?
Would you have bought a new 1080p LCD if you can only watch Home Shopping Network?
Would you have bought an iPod if you can only play Celine Deion in it?

The industry knows is has always been 'its the content stupid'. Apple just use a sleight of hand to make not so while undermining the content industry. I say screw them. Play the same game as the rest of the hardware industry.

RE: Apple
By plinden on 9/6/2007 1:10:30 PM , Rating: 1
Yes, in theory, content providers should decide their own prices and DRM policies. I understand DRM. I work for a company that delivers online video content from third party content providers. We cannot get any contracts from content providers unless we offer DRM.

But it's FUCKING ridiculous the things they ask for.

Studio A will ask for their content to be downloadable and playable on only one PC, but with no expiration. Channel X will allow syncing to multiple windows mobile devices, but want a one week expiration, except for premium content which will expire in 24 hours.

Let me repeat: it's FUCKING ridiculous.

So what happens when Dick and Jane fly to Europe and want to bring some stuff to watch while they're on the plane?

Dick has to think, "Hmm, BSG is from NBC and I can play it only on one <insert name of mobile device>, but Jane has it on hers so we'll bring that. Lost is from NBC, or is it CBS? I think it's premium anyway ... better check that ... and so we'd better watch that Friday night. Aggh, we're not allowed to play that on Jane's <insert name of mobile device> so I have to bring my laptop ... crap! I left it at work. I'll have to make a detour on the way to the airport pick it up, but it's the other direction ... Sod this. I'm installing BitTorrent".

And an industry goes belly up because of the greed and shortsightedness of the content providers.

Apple are a big enough company to make a stand. We are a small company who can't, so we have to roll over, which means no one wants our stuff (I wouldn't pay for it), which makes it harder for us to get contracts. But I don't blame Apple. I blame the stupidity of the networks/studios/cable providers. They don't understand that if a consumer has to think about DRM, it's a failure. Apple does understand that, so its DRM is comparatively lax, while still offering some piece of mind to the providers.

Apple's business practices, in this case, are good for everyone, Apple included: the consumer doesn't have to keep track of an infinite variation in prices or DRM policies, and providers sell more and make more money.

In all this, I can't believe you are arguing that NBC wanting to charge 2.5x the price and demanding more restrictive DRM is good for anyone, not even NBC itself. There's no guarantee that NBC, or any other content provider, will make the connection between falling online sales and their own stupid policies, so you can't assume that NBC will make any concessions to the consumer. They think we're all pirates anyway.

The networks don't understand online business, they wish it would go away. They want you pay for viewing BSG (that's the only NBC-owned program I can think of right now) on your TV, and more for watching it on each PC, and more for watching it on an iPod/windows mobile device.

RE: Apple
By teclis1023 on 9/6/2007 1:12:46 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not one to usually weigh in on these types of arguments, but I think I might on this one. Just a warning - I use Vista, XP, Ubuntu and OS-X. I am not really biased toward one company or the other, and sort of see Microsoft and Apple as being two sides of the same coin.

Regarding the itunes pricing thing...I have generally found iTunes' pricing to be adequate and fair. I am not anti-DRM, and do not pirate any music/software/video. Because of this, DRMs rarely affect me adversely. I understand the open-source mentality (again, I love linux) but at the same time, I feel that customers end up putting too much expectation and demand on companies to cater to their every whim and desire.

I think that NBC's desired price hike is lame, and if they go through with it, I won't purchase their shows in a digital format, especially when I can get the entire season's DVD with 30 episodes for the price of 10 lower-quality digital files! If they want to do that, then it's fine, but moving away from the Apple infrastructure is only going to hurt them (as we know from the 'tremendous success' of iTunes' competitors)

While it's true that having a hardware/software company also dictate the pricing of digital services and subscriptions is definitely sketchy, I feel that with iTunes, you're simply presented with an alternative option. If iTunes was THE ONLY way to receive TV shows and music, then it would be one thing, but I can get a DVD, or subscribe through MS, Real, Napster, etc. The reason iTunes is the best is not only because of its seamless integration with the iPod, but also because of the relatively solid software infrastructure it's built on. The bottom line is that Apple made a very smart move in creating the iTunes software package and store.

In terms of the intense apple-hate that a lot of people feel... my opinion is that if you want to bag on Apple for making profits, then just use Linux. Certainly no Windows user should be upset at Apple for their can buy a full computer (Mac Mini) with a fully functional operating system for only $200 more than the Vista Ultimate software alone costs. Add in Microsoft's desire to make proprietary every file format and extension possible, and you've got a company hell-bent on forcing its users to continue suckling at the MS Teat for years and years.

It's definitely true that Apple computers are not cheap...but let's be honest with ourselves...sub-$1000 laptops from HP/Dell/Toshiba usually suck anyways, and they come loaded with crappy trial software, bad quality hardware and horrible customer service. Spending an extra $200 for a great laptop really doesn't seem outrageous, especially considering the massive amounts of fully functional software that comes included.

Hey, I don't care who uses which computers, but for the morons who go around bashing Apple or Linux or whoever, take a chill pill and stick to the issues. If you don't like someone's pricing...go somewhere else. In the end, that's the best way to change the market. Don't be a sheep.

By Vokus on 9/5/07, Rating: 0
RE: heh
By FITCamaro on 9/5/2007 9:21:44 AM , Rating: 2
I use Netflix.

RE: heh
By bighairycamel on 9/5/2007 9:25:12 AM , Rating: 2
The middle-of-the-road option would be to use netflix. At least in a roundabout way NBC is still making money, while as a consumer I am saving quite a bit over the "actually legal" options.

RE: heh
By FITCamaro on 9/5/2007 1:17:42 PM , Rating: 2
Hence why I do it. I'm still paying for something. The way I see it for TV shows is, I pay for cable. Therefore, I've already paid them to make the show, and they've made money off the advertising revenues. I shouldn't have to pay $50-100 a season for shows they've already profited greatly off of. If they want to sell it on DVD, they should sell it for $20-25 a season. Around the same price as a movie.

So for me to pay Netflix to buy the DVDs for me, be able to rent them whenever I want, and rip the episodes that way, I'm still giving them money. Also I get a far better quality episode than if I download it off Bittorrent. Sure you can get high quality stuff, but it often takes days if not weeks to download an entire season of shows. It took me two and a half weeks to download all ten seasons of Friends off Bittorrent. And then once I finally had it, the quality was complete crap.

Then I accidentally reformatted my hard drives with video on them after putting them in a new computer. :(

So now I'm doing the Netflix thing to get them all back. It's going to take a while, but its not a difficult process. Just rip each episode off the disc, once I've got enough, start a batch of episodes to encode and let it run. This is on a second PC so if I need my main one, I can still use it.

RE: heh
By Vokus on 9/6/2007 6:52:50 AM , Rating: 2
Bit torrent is not for every one... Also I don't know what type of up/down speed you have and where you download your episodes but I get mine really fast and in full HD...

Price Thoughts
By JasonMick on 9/5/2007 9:38:28 AM , Rating: 5
Without knowing the prices, here are my thoughts:

I can't see a price of over $2.99 being very marketable.

I mean, die-hard fanatics of shows, might download still, but you are losing vast amounts of casual fans due to insistence on charging a premium for exclusive comment.

There is a definite, and disturbing trend in media to try to bump up the prices, repackage, and otherwise increase in price, content that is deemed exclusive and is not available commercially on DVD or network broadcast.

Examples range from sports, such as the Big Ten network debacle, to television companies wanting price increases on their TV shows. IMO, $1.99 is pushing competitive boundaries, as is (or was).

In a few months someone can rent 4-5 episodes at Blockbusters/on Netflix for $4.99 or less, less that $1.25 an episode. There's little to stop them from copying this content if they are computer saavy.

Video rental services are not a perfect option--there should be an alternative--as they only get content after the season is over and stale. Of course people could just go and buy a Tivo, but with modern technology it seems fitting to provide fans with a reasonably priced "instant gratification/no startup-fee" alternative if they are willing to pay it.

The issue only worsens the piracy problem, as consumers who once sought legitimate commercial avenues, are going to be pushed to resort to piracy to watch their favorite shows. This is a losing situation for everyone, IMO.

Hopefully Amazon/NBC keeps the prices low, for everyone's sake, because if they don't all TV content producers will feel entitled to aim for similar rate increases.

Consider this my editorial addition to the story =D

RE: Price Thoughts
By xphile on 9/8/2007 6:38:57 AM , Rating: 2
Those comments were better than the story itself, particularly the missing instant gratification at reasonable price / quality and the aspect of this and similar moves pushing piracy even further.

That is one reason Jobs has constantly and unwaveringly stated in his refusal to support increased prices - that people will instead just find the shows to download for nothing. And in that if for no other reason he is right, and really $1.99 is pretty sweet versus the thousands of nothing value non downloads NBC will get at $4.99 if that were the final price across the board.

They will get $4.99 an episode for Heroes but only because it is something special out of left field, and still new and fresh, but I doubt it will work for anything else in their lineup with maybe the exception of House for some people (like me who has been a fan of Laurie since before Blackadder).

I certainly don't see any other content producers finding that pricing level being attractive or palatable - and if they do try it it en masse it's going to blow up in their faces real fast.

Anyway very nice post - SIX!

Nitpicking about structure of article but....
By totallycool on 9/5/2007 9:50:44 AM , Rating: 2
Just a personal grouse you might say. But seven paragraphs of recap, before the actaul news, is just way too long for me. The article should have started with the actual news and then the recap.

Just my 2 cents.

By JasonMick on 9/5/2007 9:55:35 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry irk you, I actually was debating whether to put it up top or not, but a lot of people might not be following the story, so I figured it was good to recap.

If you have been following it and you want to skip the recap, just scroll down half a page, and BAM! (as Emeril says) there you are.

I admit it might waste about 10 seconds of your time, but I don't think skimming past 7 paragraphs is that hard, if you regularly read articles online!

By cbo on 9/5/2007 9:52:17 AM , Rating: 2
I think one of the smartest moves I ever made was purchasing PVR software. Some are now incorporating h.264 encoding and rss'ing straight to itunes or any other rss capable video manager so you don't miss a beat. In the long term i saved so much money than buying it from itunes.

By Moishe on 9/5/2007 10:14:08 AM , Rating: 2
absolutely... TV broadcast or ad-driven is still the best way for the consumer and the business model has worked for so long. My HTPC is a very useful thing and I find that I can still lead a (too) busy life without missing something I want to watch. I can time-lapse everything to Friday night. I also have Netflix and have watched quite a few shows on DVD from them if I missed entire seasons or series.

I feel like the only reason I would ever have for buying an episode is as part of a series the same way I might buy a DVD set. Buying a file instead of media in a box seems more risky and at $3 per episode I'd be actually getting less for my money than if I were to buy the DVDs. Most TV shows I own were $20-$50 and include at least 20 episodes.

The pricing structure is very curious.
By Jimmybones on 9/5/2007 11:14:55 AM , Rating: 2
NBC has made two very intresting points to me.

There comments about the illegal materials on *all* Ipods.

The pricing structure is more interesting though. I can't see why they believe charging $4.99(if that is the price) as a good idea.

You can already stream the shows for free online and get a few episodes in the past. Paying $4.99 for a 22episode easone makes the cost $110.

There are only a few items I know of costing that much for a season. HBO and Star Trek box sets.

Why in the world would an intelligent consumer want to spend 3x the cost of the normal box set to have inferior downloaded copy.

Free internet is rampant. If your ever in a pinch stop at Star Bucks, stream the show and bam your fix is done.

By Inkjammer on 9/5/2007 1:06:40 PM , Rating: 2
Frankly, I think NBC is worried about the quality aspects of their sales. What I mean by that is you have people who will be more than willing to buy an episode or two of a new show, try it out... and then realize they hate the show. NBC is trying to prey on those people who buy one or two episodes and never return.

They'll mark up the cost of individual episodes to $4.99, but have a "bulk discount" for buying the entire season, which is the same cost as the DVD set. It's a low blow, and it forces people to spend more money up front.

It's an artificial discount meant to leech as much as they can off the individual episode buyer -vs- the season set buyer.

Me, I'd rather buy (or rent) the DVDs for cheap, then back them up as choose to. Legally, that is.

DIAF itunes!!!
By evident on 9/5/07, Rating: 0
RE: DIAF itunes!!!
By jackmydog on 9/5/2007 1:06:58 PM , Rating: 2
When one has nothing to say, name call.

RE: DIAF itunes!!!
By hdd839 on 9/6/2007 10:06:25 AM , Rating: 2
not everyone one is extreme... Some people are simply neutral. I probably won't use iTunes but I've got nothing against it and in fact I think it has really helped force the music industry into the internet age.

Apple NBC
By jackmydog on 9/5/2007 12:13:42 PM , Rating: 2
The fact is Apple, with iTunes and the iPod, created something that does what it says it will do, does it well, is simple to use (that simplicity includes its pricing structure), and is accessible to a wide audience. Yeah, I have no interest in the regular purchase of movies or TV shows through iTunes... ...and, at present, prefer DVD; but if there is something that really catches my interst, and-or I am not willing to wait and-or I am about to do a long trip --- iTunes is where I go. As for expense -- well, we know what 'inexpensive' gets us -- MS with all the reliability and elegance of a toaster with a frayed power cord. NBC has lost me as a potential purchaser of their downloaded shows. At the same time, I worry that Apple might be making a mistake similar to that which almost lead to its demise before: overcontrol.

RE: Apple NBC
By plinden on 9/5/2007 12:43:57 PM , Rating: 2
The fact is Apple, with iTunes and the iPod, created something that does what it says it will do, does it well, is simple to use (that simplicity includes its pricing structure), and is accessible to a wide audience.

I agree. I don't like DRM, but at least you know that all your iTunes content has the same DRM restrictions.

Take a look at eg. Sony Connect's "End User Rights" -

Content providers would like to be able to specify their own DRM terms, but why should I, as a viewer, need to know who the provider is. I didn't even know NBC owned BSG until this news.

Free & Easy
By acer905 on 9/5/2007 12:05:22 PM , Rating: 2
IF all else fails, there will always be the good old fashion way of doing things. Step one, connect VCR to source of tv show (antenna, cable, satelite). Step Two, insert vhs tape. Step Three, decide when to record show. If it is now, press record button. If it is later, set timer (not as hard as people have for some reason insisted especially with the vcr's that have voice assistance) Final step, remove tape when recording show is complete, and add to collection of movies/tv shows.

Yes, it does still work.

If you like "The Office"
By JonnyDough on 9/5/2007 12:13:52 PM , Rating: 2
Vote me up! I think it's hilarious. Steve is a fungi.

Stream-It Option?
By teckytech9 on 9/7/2007 12:41:06 AM , Rating: 2
NBC probably wants higher prices to test the market. What they should be offering is all of their programming on their very own website and see if there is really a worldwide demand for it. How about a streaming option with or without advertising and a download option for LQ and HQ, oops, meant to say HD per episode? Pay per 1080i HD view? Better yet, a monthly subscription service that allows all episodes to be streamed at anytime.

Imo, DVR will reside in the network and IPTV will get better in time. Its just bits of data, ones and zeros. Why do we need all those fancy pricey colored gadgets? All major network content providers should stream all of their content on their own websites for free. Until then, I'll set the timer to record when its on the air.

By Baked on 9/10/2007 2:17:16 PM , Rating: 2
+1 for Amazon. Let's just say TV shows you buy from iTunes that are meant to be played on a 2.5" screen doesn't work very well on a big screen, ie, your monitor or TV.

It's all about the Benjamins
By dluther on 9/9/2007 9:41:32 AM , Rating: 1
Of all the media outlets that use the iTunes stores -- CBS, ABC, FOX, as well as some 50 other cable networks, NBC was the lone holdout. What that means is that everybody else decided that whatever Apple pays is good enough, NBC said "hey, let's see how much we can squeeze out of this."

My main problem is that the iTunes downloads are pure profit for the networks. All of the production costs have already been covered by the advertising sponsors, and I mean 100% profit. So unless someone got wise to the scam and started setting out contractual stipulations for portions of online media sales, NBC/Universal is just being greedy.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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