NBC releases the beta of its ad supported TV download service (code named screw you, iTunes, I understand), and paidContent is unimpressed.
To summarize, if one were a recently converted DVR-less Heroes addict who finds it inconvenient to watch the show when it airs, one’s (entirely hypothetical) options would be:
1. Go with the NBC software, bearing in mind that there’s currently no way to schedule the download of an entire season ahead of time, that only the prior week’s show is available at any given time, that episodes expire seven days after they’re uploaded to NBC Direct (not seven days after they’re downloaded), and that downloaded shows must be watched within 48 hours of download or they expire. In addition, one can only watch the download on one’s crappy, aging, Windows laptop. This model does, however, offer the advantage of getting to watch un-skippable ads during the program, though.
2. Go with software such as Azureus (and its plugins), scheduling download of each episode as it becomes available and watching the episode whenever one damn well pleases (sometimes it takes a week or so for one to find the time to watch, or one wants to save up and binge on TV for an evening, you see). In addition, one could watch the episode on any computer, or burn it to a disc to watch on one’s TV.
Given these options, the only reasonable conclusion that one can reach is that there’s some bizarre alternate reality out there where NBC Direct actually offers some meaningful benefit to some hypothetical viewer. The only other conclusion—that NBC never even bothered to look at the mistakes made by all of the failed similar offerings that litter the history of the Internet and made all of the same mistakes themselves—seems uncharitable.