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NBC Direct Launches With Free Downloads

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the tv-for-some dept.

Television 273

thefickler writes "It's here, and it's no joke. NBC has launched NBC Direct where most shows can be watched online and some shows are available for full episode downloads. This comes after NBC decided to pull out of iTunes." For now it's Windows only, XP or Vista, IE 6 or 7.

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273 comments

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Finally! (-1, Offtopic)

kaos07 (1113443) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312019)

Three years of Slashdotting and I finally get first post. THERE IS A GOD.

Re:Finally! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21312037)

And I was so close...

Re:Finally! (1, Funny)

blank_vlad (876519) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312057)

Isn't that a bit like coming in first place at the Special Olympics? You've "won", but you're still retarded.

Re:Finally! (1)

backbyter (896397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312301)

Fortunately I was not currently drinking my coffee when I came upon your post. :)

Re:Finally! (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312387)

Isn't that a bit like coming in first place at the Special Olympics? You've "won", but you're still retarded.

Meh, I hope you recycle your trash as well as you recycle jokes [flickr.com] .

Re:Finally! (0, Offtopic)

foobsr (693224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312139)

Three years of Slashdotting and I finally get first post. THERE IS A GOD.

Things only happen at the right time (10:42)

CC.

Streaming vs. Downloads... at the cost of DRM (5, Interesting)

compumike (454538) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312039)

Finally, someone understands that the times when we've got time to watch old TV episodes, we're not likely to have internet access! I've often found myself traveling (train/plane) and it's been a perfect time to watch, but have been thwarted because of streaming-only services.

Of course, the Windows-only DRM makes this totally useless to me at the moment. Actually, can anyone think of any examples where a service promised Mac/Linux versions "coming soon" and it actually happened? I sure can't... That's DRM for you. :-(

--
Educational microcontroller kits for a digital generation. [nerdkits.com]

Re:Streaming vs. Downloads... at the cost of DRM (5, Insightful)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312107)

I don't mind the streaming, so long as the pinheads involved allow buffering and caching. If a video is taking too long from Youtube, you can pause it and let it buffer the damn thing. The CBS innertube wouldn't do this, and gods was it annoying getting a word every five seconds. That was for the mandatory ad, I gave up on the whole thing after that.

As an aside, the only videos I see with Windows DRM are porn spam that use a 'feature' of WMP to take you to a website for licenses and malware.

Re:Streaming vs. Downloads... at the cost of DRM (4, Funny)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312353)

a website for licenses and malware

Oh I've been there. I think it's called "Windows Update".

Re:Streaming vs. Downloads... at the cost of DRM (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312269)

Finally, someone understands that the times when we've got time to watch old TV episodes, we're not likely to have internet access! I've often found myself traveling (train/plane) and it's been a perfect time to watch, but have been thwarted because of streaming-only services.
If you want to watch while disconnected, perhaps you should consider buying the show on DVD?

Perhaps also, these benefits should be pegged under the benefits of DRM? I mean, it's not like NBC would release their programs for free and DRM-free.

Re:Streaming vs. Downloads... at the cost of DRM (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21312345)

C.S.I season 5 just hit the stores around here in local region (region 1 parallel import is region 7 I think, but you aren't supposed to be able to see them), so if you follow the show on TV (which is season 7 right now I think) its kinda hard to pick up the season for a trip.

I for one hope NBC etc. will release the shows for international viewers, and I don't care about any commercials, as long as I can pick up the program and watch it at my own convenience, the only stuff I pick off of torrent these days are TV shows since they are so outdated when they finally hit the market here that its a mood point to buy them.

Re:Streaming vs. Downloads... at the cost of DRM (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312537)

Do you really think i want to carry a stack of DVDs with me whenever i travel?
I travel a lot, and often find myself on planes/trains and in hotels... And I always have a laptop with me due to the nature of why i'm travelling.
My laptop HD is more than big enough to carry a stack of TV episodes, which work out around 350mb when xvid compressed. I would hate to have the hassle of lugging around a stack of physical media, and having to search through it and swap it in when i wanted to watch something. Not to mention having to keep track of them so i dont lose them.
There's also the inconvenience of DVDs, TV shows often come out on DVD several months after they have aired, and several months later are no longer on the shelves. There's only a short timescale to buy a DVD, and if you miss it you have major hassle trying to find it again. If your really lucky old shows will get rereleased on dvd, but your then relying on something that might not even happen.

I also play games when i travel, and i got so sick of the games that demanded i keep the original media in the drive (for the sale reason, dragging round a stack of media) that i've started using nocd cracks, and more recently simply running a pirate version anyway because they already come with the nocd cracks (and thus offer me a superior product)

Re:Streaming vs. Downloads... at the cost of DRM (3, Insightful)

adri (173121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312307)

Oh for gods sake people. Just watch the damned episodes if you can. If you can't then email NBC and tell them why (Doesn't work under Mac. Doesn't work under Linux. Doesn't work with my browser. etc.)

If you just whinge here on slashdot and don't watch the episodes then you're not going to appear in their statistics. You -want- to appear in their statistics. Tell your friends about it. Get people to watch stuff. Whining about it not working -just right- for your situation doesn't help.

You -want- the statistics to reflect that there's interest in this service. You -want- the executives to notice that people are using it, that there's non-windows people using it, that people are actually providing constructive feedback to them. Sheesh!

Re:Streaming vs. Downloads... at the cost of DRM (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312469)

Since you can't transfer it, and you have to watch it within 48 hours of downloading, those times and places where you're "not likely to have internet access" are a bit limited. But hey, have an up-to-date Windows XP or Vista notebook with the right version of IE and the latest .NET framework and the latest security packages and NBC's proprietary software and you're good to go and watch the show on the train or plane you mentioned. With ads, of course.

What could be better than that?

Re:Streaming vs. Downloads... at the cost of DRM (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312523)

[koff] stage6 [/koff]

Re:Streaming vs. Downloads... at the cost of DRM (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312589)

You misspelled coff [microsoft.com] .

Re:Streaming vs. Downloads... at the cost of DRM (2, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312623)

Since you can't transfer it

... Yet ...


and you have to watch it within 48 hours of downloading

...Until DVD Jon or similar gets annoyed by that...


those times and places where you're "not likely to have internet access" are a bit limited.

Jokes aside, I'd say that NBC has finally seen the light - The future of the Internet doesn't look like TV, as traditional media execs always hoped; More that the future of TV looks like YouTube.

If NBC has finally "gotten" it, good for them. This first laughable attempt at giving people what they want may have a few flaws. I don't know, I won't use it even having a capable machine, because I don't watch anything on NBC (used to watch The Office until they turned it into a tedious little soap opera; and SNL, well, TiVo'd I'll watch part of it, but if they won't let you skip commercials, they probably don't let you skip the 90% of really dumb sketches, either). But still, good to see them trying.

Re:Streaming vs. Downloads... at the cost of DRM (4, Informative)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312471)

Finally, someone understands that the times when we've got time to watch old TV episodes, we're not likely to have internet access! I've often found myself traveling (train/plane) and it's been a perfect time to watch, but have been thwarted because of streaming-only services.
For me I can put films and Tv in divX or Xvid on my HTC universal (pda/phone 640x480) andlisten using bluetooth without the hazzle of headphones with cables in full resolution. Or take the sd card and slip it into a card reader or usb adapter and watch on a PC or a dvd/divX player that supports the card.

My Pda/phone has more than enough battery life to use it for several hours like this.

Off course I am limited to legal recordings made with my Mythtv box, which is set to automatically transcode to xvid.

I could transcode to make my recordings compatible with the PSP, however I would have to setup a lower resolution and psp batteries hold fairly low charges and memory sticks are expensive. The Slimline PSP features a TV-Out so might be an attractive option for others.

Streaming is a possibility since the htc universal is supported by the slingbox but Streaming video is not allowed on my Dataplan. Hotspots might work if I want to sit in starbucks and stream from my lan or youtube.
however since the slingbox software doesn't allow recording I couldn't use that to transfer an episode to my pda whilst on the move.

Actually there is an interesting idea would it be possible to down load a file with an intermittent wifi connection. using open wifi sources like la fonera.

Podcasts are a possibility, http://www.podcastingnews.com/topics/Podcast_Software.html [podcastingnews.com] , there is software available for most platforms including pda and psp.

Bittorrent also possible but so far only found a paid for client (about $20) http://www.adisasta.com/wmTorrent.html [adisasta.com]
I don't know if it will cope with an intermittent connection thou.

For Psp there is http://www.pspvideo9.com/pspcasting.html [pspvideo9.com] an interesting possibility.

and emule for pda possibly http://www-info3.informatik.uni-wuerzburg.de/staff/mopi/mopiphant.shtml [uni-wuerzburg.de]

Unfortunately the NBC service is completely useless to mobile users starting with the DRM but as you can see there are a number of alternatives, from the fully legal to the legally dubious. Some of which I'd not considered before this post. Is anyone familiar with a linux based server which supports partial downloads and resumes from varied IP addresses and a mobile client to connect to it? perhaps a private bit torrent.

 

Not worth reporting. (1, Insightful)

Mystery00 (1100379) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312045)

Until there is support for Firefox, Mac, Linux etc...

Re:Not worth reporting. (2, Informative)

binarybum (468664) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312091)

works fine in seamonkey - can't imagine it wouldn't work in firefox as well.

 

Re:Not worth reporting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21312103)

It does not work in Firefox 2.0.9 under Ubuntu, and says my browser is incompatible.

Re:Not worth reporting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21312311)

It does not work in Firefox 2.0.9 under Ubuntu, and says my browser is incompatible.

My guess is that you either have a funky user-agent string or an older version of Flash installed. It runs just fine in Firefox with Flash 9 on Slackware 12. No matter what I do, I can't get a 'browser is incompatible' error - not even with konqueror. It either fails with no message (konqueror) - or if I try with no javascript or Flash, it tells me it requires Flash.

Re:Not worth reporting. (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312473)

I just went to the site for laughs and it told me that:

- Incompatible browser (Firefox 2.0)

- I don't live in the US.

Two strikes and I'm out.

Re:Not worth reporting. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21312283)

In fact, it's kind of pathetic and backward that a site would even bother to launch in the year 2007 with a video solution which is not cross-platform. I mean seriously people, this is a well-solved problem. We have thousands of video sites out there which have figured out how to have videos available in a cross-platform way, so don't go reinventing the square wheel.

Re:Not worth reporting. (4, Insightful)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312339)

[rant]

Until there is support for Firefox, Mac, Linux etc...
Yeah, and I think that it's not worth reporting until they add subtitle capability for all those deaf people out there. Or censored versions for all those moral luddites out there. Or offline versions for people without internet access. It seems about as reasonable.

Or maybe 95%+ computer users who use Windows would be interested in this kind of news. Can't we just be happy that most of the population has access to free TV shows? Can't we just encourage and nurture this kind of behaviour from media companies without becoming green with envy? Can we constructively criticise, rather than resorting to "I don't even want to know" when they don't factor in your particular minority?

[/rant]

Re:Not worth reporting. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21312381)

Parent is a fucking idiot, but that's no excuse: you're a fucking idiot too. It works fine on Mac and Linux and Firefox barf barf barf et al. And I bet closer to 95% of computer users who use Windows don't give a fuck about this news. Check your flights of fancy at the gate before spuming onto the intertubes eh.

Re:Not worth reporting. (0, Troll)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312419)

And I bet closer to 95% of computer users who use Windows don't give a fuck about this news.
Just because everyone on the earth doesn't care about it, doesn't mean it's not news. It's not like everyone on Earth was terribly interested in the 9/11 disaster, but no-one would dispute that it was news at the time. In fact, much of the stuff on Slashdot, 90% or more of people wouldn't be interested in. That doesn't stop it from being news either. Just because the Original Poster and the Grand Parent (me) are fucking idiots, doesn't give you an excuse to be a fucking idiot as well. In fact, your reasoning, and the reasoning that I can only assume the Original Poster used are remarkably similar.

Re:Not worth reporting. (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312369)

Until there is support for Firefox, Mac, Linux etc...

How's that insightful? Of course that sucks that all of this isn't supported, but the fact that it doesn't doesn't make this service any less newsworthy.

Re:Not worth reporting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21312561)

Despite the open-source bias that most articles have, Slashdot is still "news for nerds," not "news for non-Windows users"

Re:Not worth reporting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21312617)

watched heroes yesterday - firefox on gutsy ... no problem here

Windows DRM means not free. (3, Insightful)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312047)

If its DRM restricted its not free. In beer or in Speech. Windows DRM means you have to pay for Windows which means that somewhere MS Gets a cut. So yes, your paying for it. And yes, Apples's DRM is no Better. I maintain my stance DRM has no right to exist, and DRM should be resisted by any means necessary. I want to live in a DRM free future no matter the cost.

Re:Windows DRM means not free. (1, Insightful)

kaos07 (1113443) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312083)

By that logic any software program designed to run on Windows yet costs nothing is also not 'free'. The fact is, Windows is run by 85% of consumers, and we can extrapolate - 85% of NBC's market audience. So for them, it is 'free'.

Re:Windows DRM means not free. (1)

kongit (758125) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312349)

You should rethink your percentages. What percentage of Linux users actually want to watch NBC? Or for that matter, if they do, you would think that at least a few of them have other means for getting NBC's shows.

While I am not using linux at the present, as I am enjoying several games for which I feel wine does not work well enough, I have watched approxiamately 2 hours of TV this week and then it was mostly jeopardy while I ate dinner. I think that most of us who use linux or would like to,have, or will use it don't like watching much network TV as we find it, well, boring. Instead of watching TV there are many things I can do otherwise with my time like read a book. Of course reading /. isn't much more productive then TV but at least its better then TV.

Re:Windows DRM means not free. (1)

SargentDU (1161355) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312575)

I agree, and with the book, the video is so much better, no graininess, you just see what is written in your mind. :)

Re:Windows DRM means not free. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21312125)

In that case, I guess no software is ever free, since you have to buy the hardware to run it on.

Mod up! (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312287)

Well, I suppose you could trace through the execution of what Linux would do on paper since it's open source. But I don't think that would really work.

Re:Mod up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21312297)

Wouldn't you have to buy the paper?

Re:Windows DRM means not free. (1)

The Lerneaen Hydra (885793) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312407)

In that case, I guess no software is ever free, since you have to buy the hardware to run it on.
Yes, but you're free to buy hardware from whichever manufacturer you wish, you're not locked into buying from one single monopoly.

Re:Windows DRM means not free. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21312451)

Ah, but that objection is closer to "free as in speech" than "free as in beer".

Re:Windows DRM means not free. (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312501)

I just hate monopolies. I mean, I SHOULD be able to buy a Ford from GM. I'd never do such a stupid thing, of course. But I should be able to!

And what's this about not being able to get a Stephen King novel from anyone but Steve? I mean, really.

Translated: I don't think that word means what you think it means.

Re:Windows DRM means not free. (1)

Aleksej (1110877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312615)

Are Microsoft operating systems the only operating systems there are?

Is NBC (or General Electric, or Vivendi SA) a Microsoft subsidiary?


I don't think you say what you think you mean.

Oh wait... both Vivendi SA and Microsoft are RIAA subsidiaries!?

Re:Windows DRM means not free. (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312491)

Hardware will always incur a cost to produce because it's a physical good made of physical raw materials. Each unit still requires the raw materials, and the processing of them, coupled with the cost of transporting those goods and the final product around. Add to that, the heavy competition among hardware makers that keeps prices down and margins low, no charging $500 for something costing $5 to make.
Software and other media can easily be reproduced at no cost, so the natural progression of a competitive market will result in software and media being given away free, possibly as a sweetener to sell hardware.

Re:Windows DRM means not free. (4, Insightful)

jackalope (99754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312651)

Your logic forgets one significant source of cost in hardware and software development. Non-recurring engineering (NRE) is a significant contributor to the cost of hardware and the primary contributor to the cost of software.

For example, a IC that costs $5 probably has NRE costs upwards of a couple million dollars. Due to the cost of setting up chip fabrication and paying the engineers to do all the chip layout and design. The chip itself will cost pennies to fabricate, but the company producing the chip needs to recoup all the NRE costs spent to get to that first chip so they charge $5.

The same is true for non-free software. It may cost pennies to produce a CD or sub-pennies to download the binaries, but the company must recoup the NRE costs if they are to remain in business. That is why software costs money.

For free software, the makers of the software are looking to recoup their NRE in other ways. The hobbyist is usually looking for recognition, resume' enhancement, or just enjoyment. But, the hobbyist isn't looking to buy groceries with their good looks; the most likely have a day job that pays the bills. I posit that hobbyist do not produce the high quality free software that we've come to know and love, they just don't have the time or organization (they contribute but they are not the primary producers). The professional organization producing free software (IBM, RedHat, etc) are looking for other revenue streams from the free-customers to pay the NRE on the free software, through support fees or licensing related products.

All in all, to my point. Software is not free either. Somebody has to spend labor time producing it and those somebodies expect to get paid somehow.
 

Re:Windows DRM means not free. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21312247)

Why would anybody care about your stance on DRM given that your don't care enough to tell a difference between 'your' and 'you are.'

But perhaps that not your fault, and your just a product of your grandfather and father being the one and the same person.

Your welcome.

Re:Windows DRM means not free. (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312449)

But perhaps that not your fault, and your just a product of your grandfather and father being the one and the same person. Your welcome.
Goddamnit! Would people stop traveling back in time and giving birth to themselves already? It was funny in the 80s, it was cool in the 90s. But its downright dangerous and you risk collapsing the entire universe everytime you do it! Enough already!

Re:Windows DRM means not free. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21312289)

Windows is a tool needed to view the content. You wouldn't claim TV isn't free because you need a piece of non-free hardware to view it, so why take the line that this is non-free just because you need non-free software to view it.

Re:Windows DRM means not free. (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312465)

I'm free to buy a Sony tv or a Panasonic or even a Sonnee tv if it tickles my fancy and still receive the television. That is not the same situation as releasing a television show under one particular OS.

NOTE: I'm not saying that Windows is necessary to view the NBC videos. I'm simply questioning the AC's reasoning.

Re:Windows DRM means not free. (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312513)

I would complain just the same if there was a TV show that required a particular brand of TV to view...
The specifications of television signals are public knowledge such that with the right tools i could construct my own television.
Alternatively, because producing a TV would be difficult, and manufacturers who already produce TVs are competing with each other and keeping prices lower than it would cost me to make my own (economies of scale), I am free to purchase a TV from any one of many different vendors depending purely on my own free choices.
There is no single entity that is guaranteed to make money from my purchase of a TV.

Re:Windows DRM means not free. (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312609)

Windows is a tool needed to view the content. You wouldn't claim TV isn't free because you need a piece of non-free hardware to view it, so why take the line that this is non-free just because you need non-free software to view it.
Mod parent up - +1 Subtle Troll.

Re:Windows DRM means not free. (3, Informative)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312371)

You can construct your own personal DRM-free future! All you have to do is ignore it! Don't buy/watch/download/give/take DRMed media! You'll have a reasonably faithful simulation of your DRM-free future without the hassle or rudeness of forcing it upon on everyone else!

Re:Windows DRM means not free. (1)

David Jao (2759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312639)

It hardly seems worth mentioning, but DRM is costly even if you avoid all media. If nothing else, DRM increases the cost of hardware [auckland.ac.nz] ).

Sure, you can boycott DRM hardware, to a point, but at some point you have no choice. For example, DVI monitors are limited in resolution, and if you want to upgrade to HDMI, all HDMI monitors come with DRM. Also, what choice do you have, if all hardware by law must support DRM [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Windows DRM means not free. (1)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312379)

It's pretty unlikely that NBC is every going to publish their content under the GPL, or any OSI-approved license. I guess you could say that NBC's content is even less free because of the DRM, but it wouldn't be free without it either.

Obligatory (4, Informative)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312069)

Link to the site itself [nbc.com] since TFS doesn't include one.

Windows only, IE only, DRM only, USA only. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21312097)

Yeah, this will keep me from the torrents.

PARENT IS INSIGHTFUL (3, Interesting)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312477)

I know a lot of Australians who download content illegally simply because it isn't available any other way at the time (if we want to wait 12 months we might get it then). The telivision channels have begun combating this by showing shows within a fortnight after America, but its still not the norm.

Does not help me alot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21312105)

X Browser not compatible
X Must reside within the U.S.

Oh well, what did I expect?

Re:Does not help me alot (1)

_merlin (160982) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312453)

To be fair, NBC probably only has US distribution rights for these shows. If they don't make a show of making some effort to stop people outside the US from getting access to them, the content producers/owners will sue them for breach of contract. (Yes, I'm outside the US, so I can't access this "free" content.)

Re:Does not help me alot (3, Insightful)

Heddahenrik (902008) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312551)

Someone should explain that NBC is BROADCASTING the content. A few minutes after it's aired it's sent on the bittorrent channel. So I guess we outside of USA just have to do with top quality easy to download TV-series without any ads until the TV-show producers figure out how to distribute their shows on their own.

Strike (5, Insightful)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312115)

And this is exactly why the writers are now on strike. They get nothing from the distribution online while the broadcasting companies gets all the income generated from ads, etc. But even worst: they get nothing from the distribution on DVD in some cases.

Re:Strike (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21312255)

I'm a software developer. Do I get royalties when my work is used to start up a new site abroad? No I don't. Do I get royalties for each user using the code I developed for my employer? No I don't. Would the world be able to function if we had to develop the infrastrucutre to pay everyone royalties on use? ("You walked on that spot right there, where I put down the gravel under the pavement, 20 times during the last 6 months, so you owe me $0.002").

Hint: NO!

Re:Strike (1)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312373)

Don't be naive. if you really are a commercial software developer, you just license your code. if you don't , then you are a freeware developer, in which case, this is your choice. I am both: I develope a freeware application and I get nothing when it's used. Tha'ts my choice. But I am also a developer for a commercial application and I license it world wide. Yes, there are people that use it without paying, but hey, if I only could they sure would need to pay me, but that's life.

Second Chance (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312117)

Because NBC's content is so good it is worth the bandwidth to download it.

NBC does not understand it... (4, Insightful)

simp (25997) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312121)

Hello NBC,
I'm from Europe and I have one XP and two linux PCs. And your marketing department seems to be utterly clueless as to how they ever could target me via advertisements on a webpage or embedded in a video. And selling your old TV series to European TV stations years later does no cut it.

Yet any localized Google homepage shows me unobtrusive ads that are relevant to my search queries and geographical location. Times are changing NBC. Adapt or die.

Signed,
A user from Europe who wants to buy cheap American stuff.

You don't have to like it if you still buy it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21312317)

Since just a handful of American companies control most of the Old World markets, you as consumers are pretty much screwed (and probably won't be getting any 'free' legal downloads).

If NBC makes good money selling decades-old content to European stations, then it's hardly NBC's problem, and will probably stay that way forever. Kind of reminds me of all the French people badmouthing McDonnald's, yet the local branch still posting the record profits somehow.

Re:NBC does not understand it... (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312395)

The BBC sells plenty of old crap here in the States, too. If you don't like it then don't watch it?

I do agree that NBC is rather clueless, but not for the reason you cited.

Re:NBC does not understand it... (3, Interesting)

tero (39203) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312413)

Hear hear! I'm also ready to spend my strange foreign money on cheap US entertainment! Just give me a chance and I will!

Nothing new here, European users are fcked since the international profit cycle is built on selling us the old crap (and our local channels gladly buying it).
I was initially very excited about this, but then realised it sounded too good to be true. And it was.

Oh well, back to downloading my stuff illegally and waiting for the Police to kick down the front door.

It works in Firefox (2, Informative)

MSRedfox (1043112) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312127)

I just watched part of 'Life' in Firefox without any problems. So the the claim for IE only is false.

I should note... (1)

MSRedfox (1043112) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312163)

Before some else complains about it, I should note that I can't download the episodes in Firefox. But the streaming working perfectly fine. So it seems like it is only partially IE dependent. I'm curious if the streaming will work on with a MAC or Linux, or if it is Windows only.

Re:I should note... (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312183)

It may be IE independent for streaming, but its certainly America-dependent for viewing. That's okay the only NBC show I watch is heroes and we're getting that 2 weeks after America anyway.

Re:I should note... (1)

sentientbeing (688713) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312385)

Im on Virgin Media (formerly Telewest) and my IP is recognised by them as being US based for some reason.
I watched Heroes a while ago streaming from the ('US only') website.

Odd.

Re:I should note... (2, Insightful)

ogfomk (677034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312329)

It works with Fedora 7 and Firefox. I am enjoying The Tonight Show.

yay (1)

Toridas (742267) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312143)

I'm glad they finally have an option for download! Because the online episode player on their site is horrible. It only has HD available which means you need a 2mbit connection to watch episodes without stuttering. I have 512k DSL and often watch episodes from the ABC and FOX websites with no problem, but watching anything from NBC was impossible. I saw episode 4 of Life on TV one night and decided I liked it enough to catch up on the first 3. Each 42 minute episode online took around an hour and a half, because of all the stops and starts. Uuugh.

No thanks. (3, Interesting)

ChangeOnInstall (589099) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312157)

Is this what they're talking about:

http://www.nbc.com/Chuck/video/episodes.shtml [nbc.com]

Quality is crap in fullscreen, even though there's a 2" margin on each side of the screen in that mode. It played a 30 second ad for "Scrubbing Bubbles" shower cleaner before letting me watch it (fine with me). I then tested the use case of "I missed the last part of this show" and tried to get toward the end. This resulted in the ad playing again, twice.

Good luck competing with BitTorrent on that. It would take 30 minutes to BitTorrent an HD version of that show, transcoded into a 350MB XVID file in 480p quality. The file would be entirely free of commercials of any kind.

If they want to make this work, they need to offer shows for download in an unencrypted format. Feel free to play a 30 second or even minute-long video ad before allowing the download of a show. Feel free to add commercial breaks to the file. Feel free to require registration and include your zip code, such that local ads can be provided. But don't try to enforce any special player requirements, DRM, or mandatory commercial watching. Don't make me watch it in a web browser, or with a border around it (each additional inch of TV screen is exponentially more expensive). Make sure the video is at least 480p.

Do this and you won't have anyone downloading the ad-free version of a show on BitTorrent/p2p.

Re:No thanks. (2)

speilberg0 (1144645) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312271)

Do this and you won't have anyone downloading the ad-free version of a show on BitTorrent/p2p.
Not so sure about that argument. 'In Rainbows' was free (if you wanted) but was still pirated anyway [slashdot.org] . I'm sure that there would still be many people who still rather download the shows through torrents just because they don't have to worry about ads (with the added bonus of not having an increase in file size or a decrease in quality).

Re:No thanks. (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312581)

It was pirated because that's what people are used to.
Non pirated versions are often inferior (drm etc) than the pirated ones, such that many people are now in the habit of simply downloading pirated copies. Many probably didn't even realise that 'in rainbows' was available legitimately under the same terms they usually pirate it.

Re:No thanks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21312559)

http://www.nbc.com/Chuck/video/episodes.shtml

Your mistake is right there in the URL. Why the hell would you want to watch a secret agent fabrication with contrived nerd humor? Even the best video quality would look like crap.

NBC DO NOT offer FREE downloads (0, Troll)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312173)

they still restrict to regions so you have to proxy to get access to them and they do not seem to offer the FIRST episode or pilots. Its not FREE to all.

Re:NBC DO NOT offer FREE downloads (4, Insightful)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312393)

The criteria for something to be 'free' according to you, then are:

- It has to be accessible to everyone on the planet
- It has to cost nothing to everyone on the planet
- It has to be obtainable conveniently to everyone on the planet

Thanks for the clarification. I was using the archaic definition of free, meaning "something I can get for nothing".

think of all that money they've saved... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21312195)

by not having to pay any royalties to the writers!

Correction (5, Insightful)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312197)

So here are your downloading options...
1) Goto BitTorrent... where new shows pop up right after they air, download speeds are insanely fast, there are no ads, there is no DRM, and I can get video that will play on whatever computer or device I want.
2) Goto NBC... where new shows pop up at 2am, I'm downloading from one source, there are ads, lots of ads, there is DRM, lots of DRM, and I can only play video on a Vista or XP computer.

NBC doesn't seem to realize that a conveniance based model has more opportunities for growth. Time after time the internet has favored those who have figured out how to make a profit by catering to conveniance.

Re:Correction (5, Insightful)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312495)

I agree. They have a big advantage over the cap groups: they have the episode well before it's aired, in perfect quality. They could put up their own torrents for it the moment the episode ends on TV, or even halfway through it. Provide their own trackers, but submit the torrent to the popular sites so it's easy to access (in addition to putting it on their own website). Using their own trackers means they get viewership statistics -- probably more accurate than the Neilson family stats at that!

Most people will use the official torrent: it's guaranteed good quality, complete, available before anyone else's, and sanctioned by the producer. People will tolerate some ads, so long as they're not obnoxious. There's only so many companies that can be advertised in a global market, anyway. Add a "If you want to support this show, visit ..." to the end credits and have a site which lists the show's sponsors, a donation box, merchandise, etc. This site could use localisation to tell you about the sponsors nearest to you, so the networks don't need to miss out on local ad revenue.

It's interesting how big media still seems to believe they absolutely must exert 100% complete control over their content in order to be profitable, while seemingly oblivious to the fact they haven't had control for a long time and have been profitable regardless. Most people aren't greedy and selfish, but I think most people do feel completely disconnected from the fate of their favourite shows. For the vast majority of people, the networks have absolutely no idea what shows they watch. What does it matter if I torrent a show rather than watch it on TV? I'm not going to buy stuff I see advertised during it, and even if I did, the company that makes it has no real way of correlating that with the fact they sponsored a particular show.

I guess realistically, it's easier for the networks to produce a few shows which rake in millions in advertising, than it is to produce a lot of shows which are individually profitable, but with smaller margins.

Re:Correction (2, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312569)

They could also easily undercut the pirates...
They offer for download an ad-supported version in a standard format and at multiple resolutions right when the show airs, or even before... And host it using something like Akamai...
So the legal one comes out first, is the same or better quality than the pirate version, downloads as quick or faster, but has ads. For most people, it will simply be easier to put up with the ads (providing they're not insanely intrusive) than to wait for a pirate version with the ads stripped.
So long as the pirate version is significantly better, people will have incentive to download that instead.

Just Pointing Out (1)

JamesRose (1062530) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312205)

In the article it does say they are rolling out support for the other platforms soon, its just a matter of time. So it's not like another BBC, the software for other platforms is coming soon. Which frankly I think is perfectly fair, they were working to a tight deadline before christmas so they've fulfilled their needs for the largest target market and now they're moving on to the smaller operating systems.

Re:Just Pointing Out (1)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312235)

Supporting other platforms means offering DRM Free media. Like the BBC iPlayer, there will never be sanctioned Linux playablity.

Re:Just Pointing Out (1)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312431)

... the software for other platforms is coming soon. Which frankly I think is perfectly fair, ... they've fulfilled their needs for the largest target market and now they're moving on to the smaller operating systems.

Audio/video files are not supposed to be OS-dependent. At all. You don't even have to test an A/V file in Windows, to know that it will play in Winamp. The only way you can get a A/V file to be OS-dependent is if you intentionally botch the delivery.

"For now it's Windows only, XP or Vista, IE 6 or 7 (4, Funny)

Kickasso (210195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312211)

Yeah. For all values of "now" in this millennium.

Re:"For now it's Windows only, XP or Vista, IE 6 o (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312515)

Actually, from some [slashdot.org] reports [slashdot.org] of it working for other people on other systems, more like "for all values of 'now' in the null set"

Works fine on a Mac (4, Informative)

Killer Eye (3711) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312233)

Not sure where the Windows/etc. requirements came from, but I'm viewing it perfectly right now on my Mac.

Using Leopard (10.5) and OmniWeb (based on the Safari engine), in case that's significant.

This is crap because... (1)

Lachlan Hunt (1021263) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312291)

It's only available in the USA, it's IE only and uses Windows Media DRM. I wonder how difficult it will be to find an open proxy in the US, download the files with IE and then strip the DRM. Anyone know what quality these videos are? Am I better off just downloading some HDTV or DVD rips via bittorrent?

Good Next Step... (3, Insightful)

KookyMan (850095) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312303)

...but still a ways to go. Before everyone jumps on the bandwagon about it being Pro-IE/Pro-DRM, at least give credit to the fact that its yet another step in the right direction with offering downloads.. They're trying it out, and I think will find it will be a success... Perhaps next ABC/CBS will follow this lead and knock out a little more of the restrictions, say opening to any browser, or removing the DRM. When it comes to big corporations, changes come small and slow. This is defiantly a good thing, lets just hope it continues down this path.

Great Timing! (5, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312357)

Excellent timing! The perfect time to launch this is during a writers' strike where they are trying to be justly paid for such downloadable content.

Kind of makes a mockery of the studios argument, namely: giving this stuff away free on the net is just worthless promotional material. If that's truly the case, why not just give it away free? i.e. no DRM, and no region nor software restrictions.

Or might it be that the studios are... lying?

Doesn't work in Canada - again (2, Interesting)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312415)

Once again, a TV download/streaming service that blocks out Canadian viewers, even though we get all shows broadcast at the exact same time as the US. Maybe I would watch the shows legally if they let me.

Back to Torrents...

works in firefox on linux (1)

delvsional (745684) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312441)

The advertisement sure as hell works but the video doesn't

Works fine under Linux. (2, Informative)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312503)

Watching the first episode of Heroes via Firefox (it's using flash).

Let's see here... (2)

FoolsGold (1139759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312507)

* Requires Windows, not even a Mac will do
* IE only
* Full of DRM (the reason for the first two)
* Full of ads ...

I just don't see how NBC could have fucked up more.

Re:Let's see here... (5, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312541)

"I just don't see how NBC could have fucked up more."

They could have supported only Konqueror on Linux, spooked the big-wigs funding it by not using DRM, and made it ad-free so they don't generate revenue from it.

The major networks are fine without iTunes (1)

intrico (100334) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312529)

There's really not much reason for these major networks to go through iTunes. All of them, including NBC, have offerered significant amounts of streaming content on their own websites for quite a while now, in decent, very-tolerable quality, (usually comparable to that of SDTV or VHS), even if it's not HD. It's obvious that the major networks are not incompetent when it comes to new forms of media distribution. The major challenge for them is protecting their revenue, seeing as how ads make up nearly all of the major network revenue. Although I do agree that DRM is often fundamentally unfair to the consumer (in cases of music and movies, etc. where you already paid for your stuff), I do think that it is approriate for the sole purpose of discouraging average consumers from easily disabling or blocking ads that are used to generate revenue for *free* content.

Only free if it's DRM-free (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312547)

If I have to purchase Windows to play these then it's not a free service. It requires setup costs and maybe hardware.

It's only free if I can utilise the files on my existing hardware and OS.

Clueless. (5, Informative)

mattr (78516) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312567)

Great I thought, and then had the wind taken out of my sails. They refuse to display the clip if you are out of the region they define. Despite that it would be used I think by people on vacation who don't want to miss their favorite show. Sum of my experience:

1. Watch TV! Yay!
2. But it's NBC! They have a lot of programs and they all suck! Honestly I wanted to watch Stargate Atlantis or some kind of scifi-y thing. Nope. They got ten cop shows though. Fine I pick the updated Bionic Woman I haven't seen before.
3. Figure out their convoluted interface, okay. Very spiffy but what I really want is to quickly find out what the show is about then watch it, y'know? Looks like they must spend a lot of money to add shows to this system.
4. They don't have the first episode of the series! Arrrgh! No matter of clicking little arrows will show it!
5. Pick a chapter. Wuh? This isn't a DVD!! Will I have to click each chapter as they finish? (Cringe!)
6. Okay here we go, I clicked the first chapter of the first clip I could find. ARRRRRGHH!! I'm in Japan and instead of a video, the video pane shows a message saying they refuse to show the video!! AAAAAACK!
7. Goodbye NBC.

Re:Clueless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21312619)

You've been out of the loop too long..."The Office" "Heroes" and "30 Rock" are the best shows on TV for white males between 18 and 40 (which is also 99% of the Slashdot readership...)

I've used the NBC service, under Firefox, and I thought it was excellent: good interface, picture quality is fine, and I don't have to wait for the download like with bittorrent. Only problem is the bittorrent still has commercials, but I can understand their rationale on that one.

"Stargate Atlantis"??? Why the fuck would anyone want to watch that?

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