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NBC Direct beta bugs still causing frustration

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 03 Jun 2008 0:50 User comments (1)

NBC Direct beta bugs still causing frustration NBC is reportedly planning to officially launch their video download service, NBC Direct, some time this summer. No doubt they'd like to have it in place before new shows premiere this Fall. In preparation they've launched a new beta version of the associated player and download manager. Unfortunately, like the first version of the software released last November, there appear to be a lot of people who can't get it to work right.
The idea behind NBC Direct is fairly simple. It's a sort of web-enabled DVR which allows you to download episodes of selected NBC shows to your computer and view them for a week after they air. It's an alternative to streaming services like Hulu, which is co-owned by NBC along with News Corp. In addition to the obvious difference between downloading and streaming video there's another important distinction. Hulu has become wildly popular while NBC Direct seems better known for its bugs.

From users who receive only ads without the associated TV show to CPU usage that goes through the roof for no apparent reason, the complaints continue to roll in. A look at the service's homepage even shows 2 contradictory listings for what version of Windows Media Player is required. The main instructions say version 11 is needed while the FAQ, which is displayed literally right next to those instructions, indicates a minimum of version 10.

Assuming you do get the software working the selection of shows isn't exactly overwhelming. At this point the list of titles offered includes "The Office," "American Gladiators," "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." Although NBC reportedly plans to add more titles at some point, there hasn't been any word on when that will be happening.

If you happen to use eithar a Macintosh or Linux the good news is you shouldn't experience any of these problems. The bad news is that's because your OS isn't supported yet. NBC says they plan to add support for both platforms at some point, but the Microsoft DRM currently being used with the player seems to present a major stumbling block for enabling cross-platform support.

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1 user comment

13.6.2008 15:48

Are the users going to be "accidentally" flagged as well using a dvr?

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