How and how not to broadcast TV online

NBC, idiots that they are, withdrew from selling programs on iTunes, and instead is launching its NBC Direct service, which will be free.

But there are a few catches.

First, the shows will be riddled with unskippable ads.

Second the shows will be playable on Windows only.

Third, they’ll only last for 7 days before expiring.

If that cripple combination doesn’t make you mad enough, you can also probably forget about downloading them into NZ. Not that you would pay to download all those megabytes only to find you forget to watch the shows and they are rendered unplayable.

But Engadget is saying that NBC will be only testing the service, so let’s hope they figure out the fatal flaws.

Here’s how they should do it:

First, put very short ads in the shows, but keep then 10 seconds or less, and only at least every 10 minutes. Make them skippable, but short enough that skipping isn’t worth it.

Second, lose the DRM and encode the video in something that can be played on any device. Let us choose how big or small we want the file and resolution, so we can decide whether it is for our iPod or HDTV.

Third,  open the website to everywhere, not just North America. Insert local ads depending on the IP address or preference of the downloader, and allow downloads even if there are no local ads – you have to build a track record.

Fourth: Go back to iTunes. It’s easy money and makes your shows popular.

Published by Lance Wiggs


2 replies on “How and how not to broadcast TV online”

  1. 10 second commercials is an interesting idea.

    Most video players will let you easily skip ahead 30 seconds (is it any accident that this is also the length of the average commercial?) but trying to skip ahead 30 and then back 20 to pick-up the next part of the show … it’s probably just easier to watch the ad.

    Still, it feels a little evil to me.

    Also, see this:



  2. Fifth: Make the shows available in an embedable player. They can be spread virally.

    I don’t want to have to download shows and fill up my computer hard drive. I just want to watch shows, not own them.


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