Blog Post

NBC Direct, Take Two, Out for Testing

NBC is opening a trial of the new version of its web VOD software NBC Direct, which now incorporates the download-speeding assistance of peer-to-peer startup Pando. The network sent out an email to beta testers inviting them to check out free episodes of The Office in 720p HD video (the better to see every single muscle contortion involved in John Krasinski’s facial expressions, from the privacy of your own laptop!). 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.

Here’s part of the missive:

We’d like to invite you to test drive the latest beta of NBC Direct; now with support for 720p HD video. PCs only for now (Mac support coming soon) and the majority of MS OS flavors are supported: XP, Vista (all grades) and even Media Center. Follow the steps below to download the installer and register the player.

Series available at launch (in the U.S. only) are 30 Rock, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Office and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

The first version of NBC Direct, which came out way back in November, was a bear to install and ended up using obnoxious proportions of PC resources. Our advice then and now is to try Hulu instead.

6 Responses to “NBC Direct, Take Two, Out for Testing”

  1. NBC are you listening? Here is the problem with your installer. You are testing for a DRM individualization level before install, then attempting to upgrade programmatically. If a consumer has never viewed DRM content before it is impossible to upgrade their individualization level (i.e. they have never been individualized). Not only does your installer fail to test this, your installer doesn’t even test to see if the player works! The best way to solve this is to force the user to view a sample clip that has been DRM’d to the level you want (and requires individualization). This will cause the player to activate (if it hasn’t been yet) and will cause the player to be individualized. The user may sees a few pop-ups along the way as the player tries to do these things. But the key thing is that it will force the individualization upgrade. You get all this great behavior for free if you simply force them to click on an asset that has been DRM’d (with post licensing enabled). Heck, you could even have a DRM’d audio file load when the page first loads and get most of this functionality (but only if WMP is their default audio player). I think, though, that its better for the user to know why WMP is throwing all these pop-up windows and asking for permission to continue (etc), so have the user click a link (don’t hide it in page load). Put it right in your list of requirements on the page. OKthanksbye.

  2. It took 10 mins to Install this software which works ….kinda as it still a memory Hog .

    Anyway if you want a sneek peek follow these directions

    1. Please visit: http://www.nbc.com/direct
    2. You will be prompted to enter a login and password.
      username: NbcDirect
      password: dx0w69m0xp
    3. Follow the instruction process.
    4. Download at will.

    Give me Joost any day that takes less than a minute to install (as long as your not on Vista SP1) .