After refusing to renew its contract with Apple
to distribute its popular TV shows, NBC Universal has decided to make them available for free. But there's a catch - you'll only be able to watch them for seven days after they're broadcast and you'll be forced to sit through commercials.
Set to launch in November after a testing phase in October, NBC will allow users to download a copy of their favourite TV shows
directly to their PC (sorry Mac fans but you'll have to wait until some time next year) through a new service called NBC Direct. The files will be deleted after the seven-day period. If you're wanting to take it on the road with you, well you're out of luck as the files will not be transferable.
As a way of making the service free, there will be commercials included in the video file. But unlike on DVR and VCR systems, you won't be able to fast forward through them. This could be a draw backfor some but many are likely to just ignore them like they do during a normal broadcasts anyway.
Currently, NBC offers commercial-free video streams of current episodes on its website if you don't mind watching it in your web browser.
If this service becomes popular, NBC plans to expand it around the middle of 2008 by offering a payment platform. The second phase will allow customers to keep episodes indefinitely if they choose to pay for them. The episodes would also me made available to transfer to any device you choose and will not contain any commercials. There's also no word yet though as to whether the downloads will be IP-specific for States-side only.
All of this is great news, as it gives more options to consumers who are constantly on the go. But with today's demanding society, many might not want to sit through commercials. Are you one of that bunch or are you happy to have more, legal ways to watch Heroes
or The Office
? Let us know over in the forums
or in the comment section below.