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Pam and Karen; soon to be available for free from NBC Direct
NBC Universal will make its TV shows available for download for free

Regular readers of DailyTech should already be well abreast of NBC Universal's recent rift with online multimedia juggernaut Apple. NBC Universal butted heads with Apple over pricing for its TV shows on iTunes – NBC Universal wanted to up prices to $4.99 per episode while Apple wanted to stick to its $1.99 model.

NBC Universal publicly aired its grievances with Apple; Apple in turn decided to prematurely boot NBC Universal programming from iTunes.

NBC Universal saved face somewhat by shuttling its programming over to Amazon’s Unbox service. Amazon was more flexible in pricing than Apple which was music to NBC Universal’s ears. With Unbox, NBC Universal has more control over episode pricing, can offer discounts to consumers who purchase an entire season of a show and offer free downloads of show pilots.

According to The New York Times, NBC Universal isn’t stopping there. The media conglomerate will offer a new online service called NBC Direct. With NBC Direct, customers will be able to download TV shows to a Windows-based PC for free immediately after they have aired. Once downloaded, the episodes expire one week after the original air date.

While the episodes are free, there is one tiny catch: commercials will be embedded into the shows and cannot be skipped over.

NBC Universal hopes to eventually pit its NBC Direct service directly against iTunes. "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 consume their favorite entertainment," remarked NBC Digital Entertainment executive VP Vivi Zigler. "Not only does this feature give them more control, but it also gives them a higher quality video experience."

NBC Universal’s move will effectively cut out the middleman says NBC Digital Entertainment president Jeff Gaspin.

NBC Direct will begin a trial period next month and should be fully operational in November.



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RE: It's a start
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 9/20/2007 2:08:38 PM , Rating: 3
I won't say that I "LOVE" commercials, but I certainly don't mind them. When I'm watching Heroes on Monday nights, the commercials give me a chance to go make a quick trip to the restroom, or go get a quick snack/drink, or geekishly run over to my computer to type out "OMGWTFBBQ, did you just see Sylar jack up Peter against the wall?"

I can basically tune out commercials that annoy me (just about any car commercial), but the rest aren't that big of a deal.

And if it's legal and free, I'm not gonna complain.


RE: It's a start
By Ringold on 9/20/2007 2:19:49 PM , Rating: 2
I totally agree. I like to watch Eureka, for example, on SciFi, but almost always busy when it's showing and my DVR is only so convenient; I prefer watching on my computer, as I can do other things on the side. Same goes for Mad Money; usually off at dinner.

If the resolution is equivalent to what is available by illicit means (HD even better!), I'll be a big fan of this approach. I don't mind the 1 week restriction either; 95% of shows I watch once and then clear the HD anyway. Let the commercials flow!


RE: It's a start
By Scorpion on 9/20/2007 2:21:34 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
I won't say that I "LOVE" commercials, but I certainly don't mind them. When I'm watching Heroes on Monday nights, the commercials give me a chance to go make a quick trip to the restroom, or go get a quick snack/drink, or geekishly run over to my computer to type out "OMGWTFBBQ, did you just see Sylar jack up Peter against the wall?"


Controls that allow you pause the show and advance past commercials can also give you the same benefits, minus the commercials.

quote:
"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 consume their favorite entertainment," remarked NBC Digital Entertainment executive VP Vivi Zigler. "Not only does this feature give them more control, but it also gives them a higher quality video experience."


More control? hmmm. How is forcing you to watch commercials "more control"? Sure, it allows the shows to be free, but I think I'd rather pay a small fee, like iTunes $1.99 for commercial free quality programming. Something also tells me that the "how, when, and where" aspect of control will also be grossly exagerated. Hey, but if they say it, I must believe it right?


RE: It's a start
By timmiser on 9/21/2007 2:56:29 PM , Rating: 2
There are two kinds of people in this world:

1. Those who don't have a DVR and honestly believe that they are "OK" with commercials because they don't annoy them or they think it allows them to get a snack or use the restroom and just put up with it... blah blah blah.

2. Those that have a DVR and know better.


RE: It's a start
By Hydrofirex on 9/20/2007 6:56:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
or geekishly run over to my computer to type out "OMGWTFBBQ, did you just see Sylar jack up Peter against the wall?"


I thought I was the only dork who did that... something that started with Battle Star Gallactiga. "OMFG Baltar just boned BOTH cylons!" I love heroes, but it's a bit shy of the awesomeness that is BSG.

HfX


"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes

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