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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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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.

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