Remember last month, when NBC and Fox rolled out the Hulu beta after months of negative chatter, and it turned out that Hulu was surprisingly good? Well, NBC has now rolled out its free download service, which has generated almost no chatter. And it’s surprisingly bad.
Reviews of NBC Direct have been uniformly awful: The service is slow, buggy, and hard to figure out — if you can find it (hint: don’t bother looking at nbcdirect.com). We will take reviewers at their word, since the client software requires a PC running IE and Windows Media Player, and we’re a MacBook shop.
The initial reaction here is to argue that this kind of service is beyond NBC’s ability, and should be left to the pros at Apple (or Google, Microsoft, et al). But as Hulu proved, the networks can actually summon the tech resources needed for this kind of thing, if they want to. The bigger question is, why would they want to? Let the networks create content (whenever it is they get around to making content again) and let the tech guys figure out how distribute it.
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