As with many big media announcements, the superficial awesomeness of NBC’s move – offering downloadable versions of popular TV shows (Heroes, The Office, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, etc. [see Last100]) – is dimmed by the conditions that come with them.
- The service will be called “NBC Direct” [from AP]
- It will launch on a test basis in October, expanding outward from there. [from BloggingStocks]
- Plus: Yes, NBC will be offering downloadable tv shows. [originally found on Ars]
- Plus: Yes, they will be free. [from The Marketing Shift]
- Minus: They will be ad-supported, with embedded, unskippable ads interupting playback, presumably like commercials [from: theStreet].
- Minus: Its US only. I won’t be able to use this.
- Minus: For Windows only. Sorry Apple and Linux types. [from Paid Content]
- Minus: It (may) require a propiertary player that needs to be downloaded and installed [from TG Daily]
- Minus: Downloads will only play for SEVEN DAYS from the episode air date. [from Jeff McManus]
So – on the upside, previously you had to pay $2 to download these shows from Apple’s iTunes – now they are free. On the downside – they come with ads and a bunch of limitations and restrictions.
As others have noted, NBC’s offering is more comparable to the “catch up” services offered overseas that let people catch missed shows. At a high level, this service is more competitive with DVR’s than it is with iTunes or piracy.
NBC has noted plans to offer “download to own,” subscription, and rental services over time. I’m looking forward to seeing what ludicrous prices and conditions are attached to those.