Cult of Mac » Blog Archive » NBC Direct Download Service Launches, Mainly Serves Bertolli Ads:
# NBC Direct is actually a shell on top of Windows Media Player. Yep, not actually its own application. It’s built on OpenCASE, Extend Media’s super-locked down video platform. Slogan: “Automation, Ingestion, Encryption.” Yep, that’s how consumers think about video, all right.
# NBC Direct has no support for Macs — but NBC recommends Boot Camp. How thoughtful! I have a PC from work, though, so I put it through its paces.
# Bertolli pasta is just like real, homemade pasta — only frozen, and on NBC Direct! Yum-o-licious.
# Installation is hell. You must download the application from Internet Explorer for Windows. Even though the program works without a web browser once installed, you can’t download with Firefox. NO SENSE. Then, because of its ties to Media Player, you’ll likely have to upgrade Media Player — NBC Direct was created with Vista in mind — genius! Then, after all of that, it’s capable of playing Bertolli commercials. But if you want to actually watch a TV show, you’ll probably need to launch Explorer and install another DRM fix — because you can’t spell Windows without “Service Pack.”
# Content is limited. No, make that pathetic. Only five TV shows, “30 Rock,” “Friday Night Lights,” “The Office,” “Bionic Woman, ” and “Life”, are presently available. You can download their most recent episodes, or set up a weekly subscription to get new episodes as posted. I presume these are all of the NBC-Universal produced series, as opposed to all shows airing on NBC. But I’m not a TV executive; why the heck do I care who made the show? If I want an NBC show, it would be nice to download anything they, you know, air.
# You have 48 hours before self-destruction. All TV shows downloaded from NBC Direct self-destruct within 48 hours of when you start to watch it. That’ll stop you from peskily re-watching a TV show you like, interrupted by Bertolli commercials as you go.
# All episodes vanish, both from the application and from your computer, within 7 days of their original airdates. No matter what. Exactly what I always wanted! I want the convenience of being told when to watch TV!
# NBC Direct supports absolutely no media players. Or CD, DVD, or external hard drive back-up. I hope you like watching TV shows on your Windows PC!
# There’s a writer’s strike on. So this should work for, oh, about a week or two.