Friday, September 28, 2007

Smooth Move, NBC

So, my wife and I have been buying The Office (among other shows) on iTunes for the past two seasons. With a toddler, it was impossible for us to catch prime time television, so we had resorted to getting it online. It cost money, but we were willing to pay it to be able to watch the shows we were trying to follow on our own schedule in a convenient format.

Unfortunately, NBC recently threw a hissy fit with Apple about not wanting to, oh, have a reasonable, consistent price for digital media at the Apple Store. Apparently they think that their content should cost more than everybody else's content and that Apple should pay them more money for the right to deliver it. They took their ball and went home.

So, looking on the Apple Store for the new season, it's not there. I can't pay $2 an episode to Apple and NBC because NBC are being a bunch of petulant children. Instead, we go to to watch it fer free!!! That'll show Apple, right?

Wrong. A show like The Office is all about comedic timing, and since you can't actually download the episode, out of some paranoid fear of who-knows-what, you have to watch it streaming. Except that their media player is crap, so it cuts out, stutters, and even fails, which makes the comedy fail. And their chapter browser doesn't even work - when we selected chapter 5 for the fifth time because the video cut out, it kept starting back at chapter 1. It stops being funny if you have to watch it several times in a row.

Indeed, I ended up thinking, while watching a frozen frame of two characters in mid-sentence talking to each other for several minutes, "You know what? This show isn't really worth the effort, even if it's free now." The extra hassle made what was once an enjoyable treat after the kid goes to bed into a frustrating experience which I eventually abandoned. I'm not going to follow The Office any more.

And do you know something else? The Daily Show actually IS on iTunes. And they let us download it (granted, with DRM, but that's never going to change so long as the content owners continue living in the fantasy land where they can hate and love their customers at the same time). So NBC just lost a paying customer. If we hadn't been forced to watch the painful first episode of The Office separately on, we probably would have bought the season pass. But now, that cash is going to go to a different network. Apple's still getting their cut, NBC's not.

Bye, bye, NBC. Call me if you ever pull your head out of your ass.


Charlie said...

Oh my God, I SO agree. Last year was our first year with not only our two-year-old twins, but also our Mac mini media server...

Heroes season one was great... goodbye NBC.

Chris B said...

Time to get a DVR. Trust me, they are sooo worth it.