NBC launches ‘NBC Direct’ Windows-only ‘free’ ad-supported TV show downloads

Apple iTunesNBC.com today announced the launch of its new service, “NBC Direct,” which will allow users to download and view NBC’s primetime and late-night entertainment programming on their desktops for up to one week after broadcast. The announcement was made by Vivi Zigler, Executive Vice President, NBC Digital Entertainment.

“With the creation of this new service, we are acknowledging that now, more than ever, viewers want to be in control of how, when and where they consumer their favorite entertainment,” said Zigler in the press release. “Not only does this feature give them more control, but it also gives them a higher quality video experience.”

Mac users ignored
The first version of this new feature, which will begin beta testing in October, will allow users to download full length episodes for viewing on Windows based PCs. Each original episode will be licensed to users for viewing through “NBC Direct” for one week following broadcast and will then expire. The downloaded file will provide users with an improved overall viewing experience compared to traditional streaming video. The list of programs available at launch will include “Heroes,” “The Office,” “Life,” “Bionic Woman,” “30 Rock,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

NBC: “Must DRM TV”
Later in the beta launch, users will be provided the free subscription option that will allow them to pre-select their favorite NBC programs they want to watch. Those shows will be automatically delivered to their computers as soon as they are available after the original broadcast. The downloadable player will also have filtering technology, which will prevent it from playing any stolen copyrighted material.

Future Mac support promised
Future versions of “NBC Direct,” which will roll out over the next several months, will provide expanded platform functionality and will allow DRM (“digital rights management”) protected versions of its programs to be downloaded to Macs and portable devices in addition to PCs. NBC.com plans future enhancements such as high-resolution versions of programming made available via a closed P2P (“peer to peer”) distribution network. Using closed P2P will ensure that the maximum number of users will be able to view consistent, high-quality content directly from their desktops. Later in 2008, NBC.com plans to offer other business models for downloaded content in order to provide its users multiple options to consume their NBC programs. These paid business models may include download-to-own, rental and subscription.

Visiting NBC Universal’s site with an Apple Mac currently generates the error message that reads, in part, “We’re Sorry the requested download is unavailable. Downloads are only available to users located in the United States that have a Microsoft operating system and Internet Explorer web browser.”


MacDailyNews Note: NBC shows currently remain on Apple’s iTunes Store pending the results of ongoing, publicly-contentious negotiations.


  1. My email:

    Hi, I have a Mac, Running Safari.. Do you plan on supporting the Mac platform with your new interface?

    ABC.com which uses flash I believe works A-OK

    Please advise as I would like to watch the shows without having to pay for them!, and although I work in a PC store, I WOULD NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS RELY ON WINDOWS FOR ANYTHING EVER AGAIN! Only complete nincompoops are still on the doze platform. <– Period.


  2. But I don’t want to watch stuff on my Computer. When I’m at home, I want to watch things on my TV.

    When I’m on a plane, train or bus I want to watch tiny pictures on my Pod.

    But when I’m home, my TV.

    How hard is that to understand? Just because I can, doesn’t mean I want to watch programming on my smallest screen.

    Seriously, is NBC just STUPID?

  3. Good for NBC, shame I use a Mac really :S

    Stop assuming that if they don’t work with Apple, they will fail. Let them try this new service out for themselves, and if it works, good for them, if it doesn’t, oh well, back to the old drawing board.

    The only way to find out is to try and that is what business is all about. Trying!

  4. You said, “Seriously, is NBC just STUPID?”

    YES, and greedy too. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />
    May they suffer lost money, lost ratings, and die in disgrace. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />


  5. It’s hard to judge this based on it’s current state.
    What quality will the videos have, how obnoxious will the advertising be, how long will a download take, how soon will Mac support be coming, what about the 3 or 4 people using linux?

    I do think this is an interesting step for any network. Windows only support at first makes sense, don’t forget windows 90% market share.

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