Apple iTunesNBC Universal and SanDisk today announced that current TV shows from NBC, USA Network, SCI FI Channel, Bravo, and vintage library shows from NBC Universal will be available via Web-based service. SanDisk’s “Fanfare” service enables the download of TV shows and other video content from Windows PCs only — Mac users need not apply — for playback on their TV via the Sansa TakeTV video player. The announcement was made today by Jean-Briac Perrette, President, NBC Universal Digital Distribution and Sanjay Mehrotra, President and Chief Operating Officer, SanDisk.

The Sansa TakeTV device must be purchased to extract content from Fanfare and transfer it to a television for playback.

MacDailyNews Take: TakeTV? Okay, if that’s what you want, NBC. But, there won’t be much “purchasing” going on, boys – certainly not from SanDisk or NBC. Totally unrelated and completely off-topic article: Free TVShows application for Mac OS X automatically downloads your favorite TV shows via BitTorrent – August 31, 2007. The point we are making is that NBC seems to forget or be ignoring that they are not only competing with legal downloads, but with piracy. By making it difficult for users by requiring additional hardware, practicing bundling (read: swindling), and plastering DRM on everything, NBC et al. will continue to be unmercifully trampled by P2P.

Under the terms of the deal, SanDisk plans to collaborate with NBC Universal to implement a series of Digitial Rights Management (DRM) measures on NBC Universal content, including partnering to explore “the implementation of watermarking and filtering technology solutions.” Additionally, NBC Universal and SanDisk will collaborate on new consumer content acquisition models, including flexible pricing and packaging. NBC Universal will provide Fanfare BETA users with “a variety of attractive ways to purchase and view TV shows, including offering discounts for multiple episode purchases and entire seasons, as well as incentives to purchase a bundle of different TV shows at one time.”

MacDailyNews Take: NBC: Must DRM TV. Bundle? Rip-off is more like it.

“Our viewers now have another innovative way to enjoy NBCU’s first-rate broadcast and cable content whenever and wherever they choose with Fanfare and Sansa TakeTV,” said Perrette. “SanDisk is taking a leadership position within the consumer electronics industry with its commitment to protecting content, which marks an important advance for television entertainment in the digital landscape.”

Said Mehrotra. “SanDisk is committed to providing consumers a vast collection of legitimate content, while protecting the rights of content owners with technology solutions such as watermarking.”

MacDailyNews Take: SanDisk, NBC, and DRM: A threesome made in hell.

NBC Universal content will be available on Fanfare (currently in BETA) in January. NBC shows will be available on Fanfare for consumers to purchase and permanently download and view on a TV via SanDisk’s Sansa TakeTV PC-to-TV video player. Shows will include “The Office,” “Heroes,” and “30 Rock.” New episodes will be available on Fanfare the day after they air on the network. Consumers may also purchase NBC Universalcontent from properties such as USA Network, SCI FI Channel, Bravo, Telemundo, mun2, NBC Sports, and NBC News, including USA Network’s “Monk,” SCI FI Channel’s “Battlestar Galactica,” Bravo’s “Top Chef,” as well as NBC News and NBC Sports specials.

Sources: SanDisk, NBC Universal

MacDailyNews Take: They couldn’t beat Apple’s iPod+iTunes fair and square after more than half a decade of trying, so now they’re going to try to tilt the playing field: deny content to Apple, supply it to the also-rans — festooned with DRM, of course — while ghettoizing Mac users (who just happen to be the fastest-growing segment of consumer personal computer users and also those with the most disposable income). Think it’ll work?

The only way to effectively compete with piracy is to offer DRM-free (or unobtrusively DRM’ed) content that can be played anywhere for a reasonable price. Then people will buy. It’s a simple solution that most of the world’s content providers have yet to understand.