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September 2, 2014

NBC launching free download service

by Brad Linder, posted Sep 19th 2007 7:05PM
NBC watch onlinePretty much every TV network and its sister offers up a way to watch popular shows for free online. Just hop on over to a network website and you'll find a way to watch recent episodes of everything from Heroes to Girlfriends.

And of course, you can download many of the same shows for a fee from services like iTunes and Amazon Unbox. But NBC is preparing to launch a new service that's a combination of the two. NBC Direct will let you download videos to your computer for free. They'll include advertising, and you'll only be able to watch for up to a week after a program's original air date. But you can download a video and watch it on the go when you don't have an active internet connection. No buffering needed.

The move is a little surprising. Or at least the timing is. NBC recently announced that it was terminating its contract to sell movies through Apple's iTunes service. But the company struck a deal to offer shows through Amazon Unbox. The new download service could eat into revenue from Unbox video sales. Perhaps the network is hoping that advertising can be more profitable than video sales.

NBC is also working with News Corp to launch a new online video service called Hulu. While it's not entirely clear whether Hulu will feature full length episodes or just video clips and exclusive content, it now seems like NBC is a bit all over the place when it comes to its streaming/downloadable media strategy. But since nobody quite knows what the future holds for the medium, maybe it's not a bad idea to have all the bases covered.

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Mel

Don't be so negative, people! I think it's a very good idea, and I will certainly be using it if I can figure it out. I don't mind the commercials too much, and the one week thing is a drawback, but it'll be nice to have a second chance to watch a show without cluttering up my precious DVR hours. And it's free! (Plus, I could get screen captures from shows I can't find screencaps for online.)

September 20 2007 at 9:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steve

Wow, a whole WEEK to watch it for free, with commercials that can't be skipped. How will NBC spoil us next?

September 20 2007 at 12:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gene

Of course, NBC hasn't done anything to plug the REAL hole in their ultra-secure network: those pesky TELEVISION STATIONS, that broadcast this extremely valuable programming FREE OF CHARGE to anyone who wants it. I hear that one can watch these free broadcasts on inexpensive devices which allow one to switch off the program when commercials come on. Amazing!

September 20 2007 at 11:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael Schmitt

The problem with NBC going off and doing this is the fact that they are taking the TV show and FORCING me to watch it on my computer, and not letting me have the choice of watching it on TV, the computer, the PSP, iPod, etc. Limiting the choices that I have to watch their shows only limits the exposure that the show originally has. It's a bit sad to see NBC narrow its audience in the name of controlling their shows. Open up a bit more, NBC, and you'll see that you will reach a wider audience.

September 20 2007 at 10:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
prefect46

I like that it's free and downloadable. I don't mind a few ads, though less than TV would be nice. The real problem here is the 1 week length. Catching up on the season so far is a great ability. ABC's website does an ok job, but I missed episodes of 'Lost' last season because they fell off the map. Providing back episodes is crucial.

September 20 2007 at 5:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Thushara

Nice web log. keep posting

Thushara
http://www.chempro.org

September 19 2007 at 11:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Borat

NBC recognizes how they can't really keep up with Bittorrent, so I'm glad they are taking steps to offer shows for free. I really like the fact that they show Conan episodes for the week without any ads on their website...no more staying up till 12.30 for me.

September 19 2007 at 11:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tim

Who the heck cares? I don't want to download shows with commercials in them. I don't care if they are free. Let me buy the episodes ($1 for half hours, $2 for hours, or less). Let me keep the episodes. Do Not Put Your Craptastic DRM in My Purchases. Otherwise leave me alone, I'll find something else to watch.

Or I'll get your shows elsewhere for free, without commercials and without DRM.

September 19 2007 at 11:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MrC

Macs Smacks..

What about us Linux users?

abc.com used to work, but the new "HD" version does not.

Stupid stupid DRM
Stupid stupid foot-shooting networks.

As long as bittorrent is faster, cheaper, and higher quality, they'll never win.

September 19 2007 at 11:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scott

It's sad that NBC doesn't realize that although Macs may be a small (but growing) part of the total market, they're extremely popular with exactly the audience they'd most like to reach: young people, well-educated people, people with high incomes. Their primary demographic target. (Not to mention people who work in the media, and can spread word-of-mouth.)

These people are much more likely to be Mac owners than other groups. And which platform isn't supported by Amazon Unbox or their fancy new download service? Macintosh. (Sure, Mac support "later this year"...we've heard that one before. Treat lots of people in your target audience like second-class citizens, and see how much good it does for you.)

September 19 2007 at 10:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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