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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 Misty Dingos on 9/20/2007 2:21:35 PM , Rating: 2
Been here done that. I have used this feature from NBC. It promises to be a nice way to get some TV. Personaly I downloaded and watched the pilot for the Bionic Woman as I thought with the guys from Battlestar Gallactica behind the camera it was going to be good. Well they may want to rethink that whole BG ending finale at the end of the season. Because I don't think that the Bionic Woman paychecks are going to fill many bellies. I am not saying there is no hope but at this point. But giving it away may be the only way to get someone to watch it. It is 42 minutes in the downloaded form. 42 minutes that I can not get back. Not nearly as good as BG, not as edgy, not as thought through and not as well acted.

And a DVR is the only way to watch TV. Don't watch any commercial I don't want to.

RE: It's a start
By Gul Westfale on 9/20/2007 10:44:05 PM , Rating: 2
so this is basically just like watching TV- you get to watch the show, they get to show you some commercials. i have wondered why they didn't do this before; i myself don't have a TV anymore, and while i am usually glad that i gave up on it i do miss shows like house and south park (i already have most trek on dvd so idon't miss that lol).

i know that there are certain ways that one can use to "obtain" content, but NBC's concept makes it nice and legal. let's hope the DL speeds will be fast, and that the image/sound quality will be good.

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
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