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NBC Launches Hobbled TV Show Download Service
Thursday, September 20th, 2007 at 8:45 AM - by
NBC is launching its own TV show download service following the broadcaster's split with Apple and the iTunes Store. NBC's own service, called NBC Direct, will let users download shows for free, but with several strings attached, according to Forbes.
Episodes will be available for only a week after they first air on television, and will expire once that window passes. Shows will include embedded advertisements that can't be skipped, and playback requires Windows, leaving Mac users out in the cold. NBC does, however, plan on offering support for Mac OS X before the end of the year.
NBC Direct will feature new episodes from returning shows like Heroes and The Office, and episodes from upcoming new series including The Bionic Woman.
The service will start up in October in a test phase. NBC plans to eventually add the ability to automatically download shows through subscriptions, and also plans to offer high definition versions for download.
Apple and NBC parted ways after the two companies failed to reach an agreement during contract renewal negotiations in August. Even though NBC's contract runs through December, Apple chose not to carry the network's fall lineup at the iTunes Store since customers would only be able to download a partial season.
NBC has also signed a deal to offer its shows through Amazon's Unbox service because Amazon was willing to agree to NBC's demands for more flexible pricing -- a demand that Apple refused.
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