NBC, CBS ‘shows on demand for 99 cents’ plans laughable compared to Apple iTunes+iPod

“It’s being billed as a competing service, or at least something comparable to what Apple has done with its downloadable episodes from Disney’s ABC, including Lost and Desperate Housewives,” Seth Jayson writes for The Motley Fool. “In reality, this is just another indicator that the folks running the traditional media biz have no idea what consumers want and are woefully unprepared to provide it.”

Jayson writes, “The hubbub today is about the hot new ‘on demand’ services slated to come from Viacom’s CBS, General Electric’s NBC, and their respective partners at Comcast and DirecTV. The networks announced that they will allow on-demand “download” of some of their favorite shows.”

“The DirecTV plan is closest to a true downloadable service, except that the media isn’t popping into anyone’s home in a form that can be readily transferred to a computer or portable device. Instead, it will just live on the hard drive in the subscribers’ DirecTV box,” Jayson writes. “Now, compared with what Apple is doing on the video iPod, this is a tiny step, and a laughably inadequate one at that.”

Full article here.

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CBS and Comcast, NBC and DirecTV equal limited time to view and/or not portable, but, hey, you saved a buck! Neither ideas compare well to Apple iTunes+iPod which offers ownership (no limited viewing period), portable, and playable on Macs, Windows PCs, iPods, and any screen to which you wish to connect and output to your iPod or personal computer.

Apple’s new iPods can display audio and video on any TV or other video device using a US$19.99 Apple iPod AV Cable. An Apple iPod Universal Dock ($39.99) plus an Apple Remote ($19.99, included free with the new iMac G5) are a nice solution for using your iPod to play video on any size screen. You can also use Apple’s $19.99 VGA Display Adapter to connect the mini-VGA port on many Mac models to any VGA-equipped monitor or external projector for video-mirroring. The VGA cable plugs into the VGA video-out port built into your Mac. Or use Apple’s Apple Video Adapter to connect the mini-VGA video output port on your Mac to any S-video or Composite enabled device (TV, VCR, or overhead projector’s S-Video or RCA (composite) cable).

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26 Comments

  1. dj – I was thinking exactly the same thing. who do they think they are really fooling? Maybe on the off chance that I forgot to set the dvr or that three! things are on at the same time that I wanna record? These guys are quite befuddling.

  2. Why pay again for the show? I already pay $75 per month for cable and $6 extra per month for a DVR through Time Warner. Why pay the extra $1 per episode when I already have it set to record “all first run” episodes”?

    There would have to be a major shift in how DVR’s work for people to spend more money to record a show.

    What about TIVO-to-Go? Aren’t they already providing a portable product? I don’t have it, so I don’t know for sure.

    MW-“although” stranger things have happened.

  3. If you have a TiVo (or similar) you already have the capability that these “download” services seem to offer. This would only seem to benefit the people who don’t think about things until it’s too late…

  4. Remember Comcast is the company which prevented you fron fast fowarding through commercials in certain TV shows you recorded on their DVR.

    I would not be surprised if they prohibited you from recording the shows which they are offering for $1 each.

  5. They just don’t get it. The only reason to do this is you forgot to set your DVR or yo just went thru a Hurricanne and there was no broadcast TV for the past week. But wait just when my power came back on they erase the show I miss. May be they are banking on a lot of Power Outages or Presidential speeches to interrupt the broadcast.

  6. MDN Take: I just wanted to make a comment on the Apple iPod AV Cable, iPod Universal Dock and Apple Remote setup. While I am VERY pleased with the quality of videos purchased from the iTunes Music Store on a conventional (tube) TV, I was DISAPPOINTED to discover that the Menu button on the Apple Remote will not pull up the Menu on a TV (nor on the iPod, in the above described setup.

    Since purchased video does not currently contain commercials, the only thing the Apple Remote is good for is to play, pause or fast forward/reverse to a point you want to go to… Anything else, you need to get up and manually do on the iPod.

    BTW: This Menu Button limitation is described in one of the manuals, so I’m apparently not missing something.

  7. guys this is no different than the other stuff On demand provides. You get noticeably better video quality, and the ability to watch a show that you may not have remebered to watch or record, although it only lasts for 24 hours. How many times do people watch shows over and over again? i d be willing to bet that the answer is not that many on average, in contrast to music. So it doesnt matter to the average joe schmoe, becuase even if he could keep the on demand content forever, it would be a waste of space. So no, this buisness model is not inadequate, and a lot more people find it easier to use a tv than to use a computer, especially adults. The cable companies have figured what the average person cares about and gives him just what he thinks he wants, and not an inch more (‘owning’ the show)

    This might all change if apple offered more and higher quality videos than what is currently availible, but i really dont see how the two mdels cant coexist

  8. Y’all are missing the point point here. Not everyone has a PVR (I actually tape shows with my VCR, I have a meeting tonight and will tape NCIS while I’m out). Most people don’t have video-capable iPods. Some people would prefer to watch TV on their TV instead of on an iPod on the subway. Most people don’t have the ability to stream video from their computer to their TV (when is the Airport Express-n coming out?). I for one am very comfortable with using Comcast’s inDemand service.

    That said, this new service is a good complement to iTunes, instead of criticizing it you should be congratulating it. Now what I really hope is that ALL networks put their shows in both iTunes and inDemand. Nothing would suck more than to have NBC and CBS in one place, ABC in the other, and FOX, UPN, and the WB waiting on the sidelines.

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