NBC Direct Still Definitely In Beta | DRM Issues, Download Problems – Stick With Hulu

1 min read

NBC Direct LogoNBC Direct has been with us now since last November, when it launched as a beta to offer a download service to those people who wanted to catch up with NBC shows.

Working in a similar way to the hugely popular BBC iPlayer, the service promised much but delivered little. And unfortunately, six months down the line that still seems to be the case.

Less Content Than Ever

Ars Technica decided the service was worth a second look now after NBC has had months to improve the process and system, and also add more content to the woefully small amount that was formerly available.

However, it seems that the service has got worse if anything, with less content available, DRM issues still rife, and problems getting the service up and running in the first place.

NBC Direct now offers 720p HD episodes of The Office, and more episodes of shows such as Late Night with Conan O’Brien and The Tonight Show. But these are in place rather than in addition to shows such as Heroes and Bionic Woman which have disappeared.

Windows Only

While the service now offers downloads via P2P technology from Pando, it is still only available to Windows users, meaning Mac and Linux users need not apply. But even then, the application can’t authenticate DRM by itself, and an additional browser plug-in is needed.

As well as that little lot, you also need to have Flash 8, .NET 2.0, and Windows Media Player 10 or higher at least to get the service working.

NBC Direct Still Definitely In Beta

Installation Problems Galore

After making sure you have all the correct software in place, there’s still no guarantee that NBC Direct will set up and work on your PC. Ars Technica were even asked to download an additional patch to fix obscure issue.

Once done, downloading takes place, but to play back a show, you may find there are additional security fixes needed. It seems some people have many problems while others don’t.


If you’re one of the lucky ones, you then have to contend with the severe limitations placed on the downloaded programmes, which means they’re only available for seven days and once downloaded, only for 48 hours.

NBC Direct is definitely still in beta testing, and may not ever get out of it. There’s really no point in the service at this point, as Hulu offers more content and in a much easier, and more flexible form.