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

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:  Amazon.com.  CNNMoney.com 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 Amazon.com 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 system...so 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
quote:
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
"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch














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