Download Service NBC Direct Prepares To Leave Beta

NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) is winding down the beta period of its NBC Direct, the free TV program download service it introduced last fall, according to P2P provider Pando Networks, which is managing the distribution. No specific date has been set for NBC Direct to emerge from beta, though it is expected to happen sometime before the end of this quarter. An NBC representative said a specific date for the end of the beta test had not been set yet, but confirmed it would be within this quarter. (NBCU-News Corp (NYSE: NWS). JV Hulu also is slated to leave private beta this month.)

For now, NBC Direct is available only on Windows PCs; support for Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and Linux has been promised. NBC has emphasized the automatic nature of the service, which lets users subscribe to pre-selected NBC programs to be sent to their computer after the first broadcast airing has finished airing across the U.S.; specifically, after a show has been concluded in Hawaii. The shows expire a week after being downloaded, however, and come with copy protection. Some of the programs currently available include 30 Rock, The Office, Heroes, My Name Is Earl, Late Night with Conan O’Brien and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.