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http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news.aspx?id=20070919nbc01

NBC.COM TO OFFER USERS FREE, AD-SUPPORTED DOWNLOADS OF POPULAR SHOWS
Released by NBC

[NOTE: The following article is a press release issued by the aforementioned network and/or company. Any errors, typos, etc. are attributed to the original author. The release is reproduced solely for the dissemination of the enclosed information.]

NBC.COM TO OFFER USERS FREE, AD-SUPPORTED DOWNLOADS OF POPULAR SHOWS

New Service - "NBC Direct" - Sends Full Episodes Directly To Consumers

Free Subscription Feature Gives Fans A Full Season of Their Favorite Programming

BURBANK, Calif. - September 19, 2007 - NBC.com today announced the launch of its new service, "NBC Direct," which will allow users to download and view NBC's popular primetime and late-night entertainment programming on their desktops for up to one week after broadcast. This new feature provides yet another platform on which fans will be able to enjoy NBC Entertainment content. The announcement was made by Vivi Zigler, Executive Vice President, NBC Digital Entertainment.

"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 consumer their favorite entertainment," said Zigler. "Not only does this feature give them more control, but it also gives them a higher quality video experience."

The first version of this new feature, which will begin beta testing in October, will allow users to download full length episodes for viewing on Windows based PCs. Each original episode will be licensed to users for viewing through "NBC Direct" for one week following broadcast and will then expire. The downloaded file will provide users with an improved overall viewing experience compared to traditional streaming video. The list of programs available at launch will include "Heroes," "The Office," "Life," "Bionic Woman," "30 Rock," "Friday Night Lights," "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

Later in the beta launch, users will be provided the free subscription option that will allow them to pre-select their favorite NBC programs they want to watch. Those shows will be automatically delivered to their computers as soon as they are available after the original broadcast. The downloadable player will also have filtering technology, which will prevent it from playing any stolen copyrighted material.

Future versions of "NBC Direct," which will roll out over the next several months, will provide expanded platform functionality and will allow DRM ("digital rights management") protected versions of its programs to be downloaded to Macs and portable devices in addition to PCs. NBC.com plans future enhancements such as high-resolution versions of programming made available via a closed P2P ("peer to peer") distribution network. Using closed P2P will ensure that the maximum number of users will be able to view consistent, high-quality content directly from their desktops. Later in 2008, NBC.com plans to offer other business models for downloaded content in order to provide its users multiple options to consume their favorite NBC programs. These paid business models may include download-to-own, rental and subscription.
 

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Time for a new Title
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But how will this work? If you buy a show on iTunes, you can view it on your computer, an iPod, a TV, and probably other devices. Will this use proprietary software? Will they use WMV with DRM? Will you only be able to watch the show in a 1" window in a web page?
 

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cwoody222 said:
However, ABC does both, don't they?
To the best of my knowledge, ABC only streams shows via ABC.com, it doesn't allow for downloading. (At least that's not the intention).

Downloads at iTunes only (for ABC shows, legally).
 

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spikedavis said:
I like how Mac versions are something they are working on. Like it's any more difficult to allow Mac users to download the video file.
It was trvial when it was done via iTunes. :)

Stupid NBC.

What a bunch of numps. A step backwards as far as size of audience is concerned.
 

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...and of course, no amount of DRM will stop a hacker from doing what he/she darn well pleases. BT will still be the place to go for high quality commercial free content and the consumer continues to be accused of crimes they haven't commited.
 

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jsmeeker said:
It was trvial when it was done via iTunes. :)

Stupid NBC.

What a bunch of numps. A step backwards as far as size of audience is concerned.
Stupid indeed. So their plan is for:

-- Yet another DRM (not likely to be Windows Media since MS doesn't provide it for the Mac).

-- A proprietary video player, in addition to the players (likely iTunes and Windows Media Player, if not VLC or other freeware players) everyone already uses.

-- No ability to watch the shows when or where you really want to (i.e. more than a week later, or on the bus unless you have a laptop).

-- Assuming that the rest of the video you watch is stolen, since they've expressly said their player will only play their content.

This is yet another case of a content provider telling the consumer what is good for them and expecting them to like it, while also taking the usual time to accuse the consumer of being a thief.
 

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Go Pats!
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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 consumer their favorite entertainment," said Zigler. "Not only does this feature give them more control, but it also gives them a higher quality video experience.
Sure sounds like he was advertising the benefit of a TiVo. ;)

The first version of this new feature, which will begin beta testing in October, will allow users to download full length episodes for viewing on Windows based PCs. Each original episode will be licensed to users for viewing through "NBC Direct" for one week following broadcast and will then expire.
Could they have meant that it is available for download for one week as opposed to regardless of when you download it, 7 days after air the license expires and you cannot watch it.

To me, that is not "allowing me to watch when I want". For certain series, I would queue up a good 4-5 episodes and then watch a bunch at one time.

IF they can get this working right, it will be my conflict resolution for Bionic Woman and The Office. Otherwise, I will not watch, and to NBC's advertisers' demise, I will not be presented with ads.
 

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Give 'em Hell, Devils
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I've got no problem with the proposal. If NBC makes their content available for free, I don't really care that they're making me download a proprietary player, and since I don't have any portable player or anywhere to use a portable player, I'm fine with it not working there either.

Kudos to NBC.

But why not include "My Name is Earl?" They've got "The Office" and "30 Rock," but not MNIE. I'm going to have major conflicts on Thursday nights and it would be great if I could get the shows I need legally.
 

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DevdogAZ said:
But why not include "My Name is Earl?" They've got "The Office" and "30 Rock," but not MNIE. I'm going to have major conflicts on Thursday nights and it would be great if I could get the shows I need legally.
MNIE is a 20th Century Fox show, i.e. not an NBC/Universal show, so NBC doesn't have the rights to make it available.
 

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Count me out of downloading another stupid player. Amazon Unbox was it for me. The idea of them magically "filtering stolen content" doesn't sound good anyway. How is DRM up the ass with a 7 day license and another proprietary player giving me "more control" than the nice MPEG2 recordings from my MythTV box? (Which I'm sure their player will mark as "stolen.") The "closed P2P" BS sounds like they don't even want to pay for the bandwidth to distribute the crap.
 
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