US

NBC U Releases 'NBC Direct' In Beta, Stumping Computers Everywhere

NBC opened a trial version of NBC Direct, its dubious video download service, with free episodes of “The Office” in 720p HD. It’s the second iteration of the service, now powered by peer-to-peer content distribution firm Pando.

Liz Gannes over at NewTeeVee gave the service a try, and, well, we’ll let Liz explain: “I tried to give the software a whirl tonight, but despite my best efforts to upgrade, restart, agree, continue, login, trouble-shoot and force-quit, it just wasn’t happening.”

We’d give the service a try ourselves, but we have an excuse: no version for Macs yet. (A note says Apple (AAPL) and Linux versions will be available in “early 2008″… so much for that).

For those who need a primer, NBC Direct is a free download service for NBC shows that NBC has been working on for about a year. It requires a software install; the shows expire in seven days and must be watched on a computer with advertising. As Gannes points out, it also comes with a whole lot of aggravation.

The only theoretical advantage this would have over Hulu is you could watch a show without an Internet connection — on a plane, for example. And while we take NBC’s point that people want to watch content in different ways, we just can’t see many people wanting to use NBC Direct.

Related:
NBC Exec On NBC Direct: “Our Users Are Upset and I Totally Hear Them”
NBC Direct: Better Hope Hulu Works Because This Won’t

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