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NBC hitches onto download service from Apple rival SanDisk

post #1 of 117
Thread Starter 
Determined to play ball in the digital arena without the help of iTunes, NBC Universal announced plans Tuesday to offer its video catalog through a new service from Apple rival SanDisk Corp that lets users download shows for playback on big screen TV sets.

Beginning in January, TV shows from NBC, USA Network, SCI FI Channel, Bravo, as well as vintage library shows from NBC Universal, will be available on Fanfare, a dynamic Web-based service developed by SanDisk and currently in beta testing.

Shows will include the Emmy Award-winning series The Office, the critically acclaimed drama Heroes, and award-winning comedy 30 Rock. New episodes will be available on Fanfare the day after they air on the network, the two companies said.

Like Apple's iTunes + Apple TV combo, the Fanfare service will let users download digital copies of the shows to their computers for later playback on their living room TV sets.

While Apple's method calls for its $299 Apple TV set-top-box to serve as a wireless conduit that streams the downloaded iTunes content to television sets, SanDisk is taking a slightly different approach to getting the video content from PCs to the TV -- its $100 4GB and $150 8GB Sansa TakeTV devices.

Essentially portable USB drives, users load the TakeTV devices with video content by plugging them into their PC and dragging and dropping video content onto the drive. The TakeTV drives can then be transfered to a dock that is connected to a television set for big screen playback.

NBC said it plans to collaborate with SanDisk on new consumer content acquisition models that offer Fanfare users "a variety of attractive ways to purchase and view TV shows, including offering discounts for multiple episode purchases and entire seasons, as well as incentives to purchase a bundle of different TV shows at one time."



NBC has cited Apple's unwillingness to experiment with content bundles and more flexible pricing structures as two of the primary reasons the two parties have been unable to see eye-to-eye on contract renewal terms for distribution of NBC content on iTunes. Following a standoff in negotiations that began in August, the two parties officially parted ways last week when Apple began pulling all NBC-produced content from its digital download service.

As part of its pact with NBC, SanDisk said it plans to use its expertise in security to implement a series of measures to protect the NBC Universal content offered via its Fanfare service, including partnering to explore the implementation of watermarking and filtering technology solutions.

The Apple rival is also said to be in the process of adding new episodes from current partners to its Fanfare catalog, and expects to acquire additional distribution rights to other premium content and channels.
post #2 of 117
Just how many people own one of these devices?

And I presume SanDisk will have to pay NBC 1.00 for every device sold....
post #3 of 117
Quote:
While Apple's method calls for its $299 Apple TV set-top-box to serve as a wireless conduit that streams the downloaded iTunes content to television sets, SanDisk is taking a slightly different approach to getting the video content from PCs to the TV -- its $100 4GB and $150 8GB Sansa TakeTV devices.

Dear NBC,
Stop with the damn lies. You can also use a $150 iPod nano and a $5 AV cable to play back iTunes content on your TV. Unlike the TakeTV, you can stop in the middle of something, hop in the passenger seat of the car, and keep watching.

Also, if I wanted bundles I would get cable or satellite. I want BSG and Heroes. When both were on, that cost me $16 a month. I'd be really surprised if you beat that with your new "service"
post #4 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

...NBC said it(s) plans... includ(e) offering discounts for multiple episode purchases and entire seasons, as well as incentives to purchase a bundle of different TV shows at one time."

NBC has cited Apple's unwillingness to experiment with content bundles and more flexible pricing structures as two of the primary reasons the two parties have been unable to see eye-to-eye on contract renewal terms for distribution of NBC content on iTunes.

I thought NBC's objections had to do with apple's pricing and revenue sharing. All the options NBC is purportedly proposing involve "discounts". Makes you wonder what NBC's objections really were. Or makes these proposals look suspect.

Can anyone explain?

On a different note, the Sansa device looks like a nice, sneaker-net alternative to apple's scheme. If apple offered this solution as a half-price alternative to its apple tv, wouldn't we admire it? (On the other hand, maybe not a lot of diff in the Sansas and attaching our iPods to our TVs?

Can anyone explain the practical differences?)
post #5 of 117
Anybody else getting pop-under windows when clicking on links on AppleInsider?
post #6 of 117
HiDee-Ho, NBC friends and neighbors!

Can you spell "B-I-T-T-O-R-R-E-N-T"?

I knew that you could.
post #7 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guartho View Post

Dear NBC,
Stop with the damn lies. You can also use a $150 iPod nano and a $5 AV cable to play back iTunes content on your TV. Unlike the TakeTV, you can stop in the middle of something, hop in the passenger seat of the car, and keep watching.

The exact same thing could be said of SanDisk's offerings, if you substitute the words "$150 iPod Nano" with the words "$150 Sansa View" in the above sentences. And yes, the Sansa View is also compatible with SanDisk's Fanfare download service. (And you could have 8 GB of Flash instead of 4 GB for that same $150.)

[edit] To clarify - Engaget reports that SanDisk plans to phase in support for its other portable media player devices once the project comes out of beta.
post #8 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

Anybody else getting pop-under windows when clicking on links on AppleInsider?

...and I'm getting tired of it.
post #9 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

Anybody else getting pop-under windows when clicking on links on AppleInsider?

I turned off pop-up blocking on Camino and Safari and haven't found it. AI did do pop-ups on occasion, I don't know if they stopped or not.
post #10 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by zanshin View Post

...and I'm getting tired of it.

I'm not seeing them at all in Safari.
post #11 of 117
I just don't get it... how does NBC think that this partnership, specifically, is better than iTunes for distributing digital content? They literally just added more physical 'steps' to the process of not only obtaining, but watching their content.

When they first parted ways, NBC shortsightedness at the C-level really had me believing it was a fiscally charged issue - especially if you listened to their take on "contract negotiations" for experimental pricing models. But now I don't see anything going on other than corporate arrogance and subsequent scrambling for partnerships that, in the end, will only damage their brand.
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post #12 of 117
That little device is a kick-ass idea.
post #13 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by rtdunham View Post

I thought NBC's objections had to do with apple's pricing and revenue sharing. All the options NBC is purportedly proposing involve "discounts". Makes you wonder what NBC's objections really were. Or makes these proposals look suspect.
Can anyone explain?

So far it seems more like NBC is trying to screw Apple even if that means screwing themselves in the process. However, if one is to compete with the most affluent legal, online video download service it would stand to reason that discounts be needed in order to create buzz and make these new services more appealing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rtdunham View Post

On a different note, the Sansa device looks like a nice, sneaker-net alternative to apple's scheme. If apple offered this solution as a half-price alternative to its apple tv, wouldn't we admire it? (On the other hand, maybe not a lot of diff in the Sansas and attaching our iPods to our TVs?
Can anyone explain the practical differences?)

As pointed out above an iPod can do the same this with a video out cable and has a many more features. But I do like the cleverness of the SanDisk device, though I have serious doubts of it catching on.
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post #14 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

Anybody else getting pop-under windows when clicking on links on AppleInsider?

Yes always.
post #15 of 117
Interesting comment on an NPR-hosted show from a TV critic (by no means a quote):

American TV networks are chasing the dream of capturing internet eyes, and desperately attempting to downsize and repackage high cost TV programming content (30 & 60 minute shows) for the net, a market of people with admittedly short content attention spans and satisfied with much shorter and smaller shows, and lower quality images.

Meanwhile, millions of American TV viewers are purchasing, thinking about purchasing, or dreaming of purchasing bigger and bigger High-Def sets that they can sit in front of for hours at a time.

His point was that instead of trying to move content that isn't in the right format for the net viewer mindset to the internet, the TV networks would be better served for their future by developing better HD content to satisfy the huge appetites of the couch potatoes with their new home theater screens.
post #16 of 117
Translation : NBC ratchet up their game of "silly buggers"


also OH NO!! SanDisk Corp are only interested in this deal to sell playerZ!!!1!! oh NOES!!! themz muss bee dee eVilzz11!1!!
I don't see how an anti M$ stance can be seen as a bad thing on an Apple forum I really can't!

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I don't see how an anti M$ stance can be seen as a bad thing on an Apple forum I really can't!

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post #17 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by parky View Post

I'm not seeing them at all in Safari.

new Safari/Leopard or older? I'm using Firefox with pop-ups blocked (even get the warnings).
post #18 of 117
Once you connect iPod to your TV, can you then control it with a remote from your couch?
post #19 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

That little device is a kick-ass idea.

Agreed. NBC is coming to the table to play. As much as I love iTunes and Apple, I'm afraid 2008 is going to be the year that viable alternatives come to the market. NBC's Hula might suck but they are determined to limp along until they get it right. Just as Microsoft has done with the Zune.
post #20 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by zanshin View Post

new Safari/Leopard or older? I'm using Firefox with pop-ups blocked (even get the warnings).

I'm using Safari 3.0.4 in Leopard and I don't see them.
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post #21 of 117
I was wondering where those pop-under ads were coming from. I never notice them until I am long gone from this site, but now that I look this is where they are originating.

Really annoying. Makes me want to think twice before coming here. I might just stick to reading AppleInsider from Google Reader instead of visiting the site.
post #22 of 117
I don't get it, I mean, the idea with Apple TV is to keep everything centralized in iTunes. Now, you have to download data into this TakeTV thingy, then plug it into your computer's USB port. Umm....huh? This whole thing is just a personal vendetta against Apple's, or maybe NBC's arrogance. There's a major power stuggle going on here for the Internet delivery method. I think Apple has the winner here, but of course, Apple TV isn't winning and will probably disco'd next year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rtdunham View Post

I thought NBC's objections had to do with apple's pricing and revenue sharing. All the options NBC is purportedly proposing involve "discounts". Makes you wonder what NBC's objections really were. Or makes these proposals look suspect.

Can anyone explain?

On a different note, the Sansa device looks like a nice, sneaker-net alternative to apple's scheme. If apple offered this solution as a half-price alternative to its apple tv, wouldn't we admire it? (On the other hand, maybe not a lot of diff in the Sansas and attaching our iPods to our TVs?

Can anyone explain the practical differences?)
post #23 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

Anybody else getting pop-under windows when clicking on links on AppleInsider?

yeah. sellin' out to da man.....
post #24 of 117
Well, it appears the children who run NBC are just doing these "anybody but Apple" deals simply for spite.
post #25 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by kkerst View Post

I don't get it, I mean, the idea with Apple TV is to keep everything centralized in iTunes. Now, you have to download data into this TakeTV thingy, then plug it into your computer's USB port. Umm....huh?

The Sansa might be playing into the FUD that setting up a network is hard. It doesn't have to be hard, and I really don't think sneakernet is a good solution when PVR and on-demand is available.
post #26 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidm77 View Post

Well, it appears the children who run NBC are just doing these "anybody but Apple" deals simply for spite.

NBC fears losing control of it's own content. That is why they are doing this. Unfortunately Apple is the one who came out of those talks looking child like. Apple should have let NBC do expensive bundles on iTunes, then played the part of "I told you so" later.
post #27 of 117
Honestly, what brain children are running NBC/Universal? First, they back a fledging HD DVD format that is assured to lose in the optical realm to the highly superior Blu-ray, and now they shun Apple's iTunes that clearly dominates the download realm. I just don't get it. Are NBC/Universal trying to lose money?
post #28 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by cygnusrk727 View Post

NBC fears losing control of it's own content. That is why they are doing this. Unfortunately Apple is the one who came out of those talks looking child like. Apple should have let NBC do expensive bundles on iTunes, then played the part of "I told you so" later.

I disagree. Apple's iTunes is the front line for all purchases the average customers and the wags would stating that Apple is the one who has raised the prices, not that NBC demanded it despite Apple's request. Plus, it leaves the door wide open for all iTunes content providers to try different strategies to make more money at the expense of the consumer and iTunes Store reputation.
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post #29 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

As part of its pact with NBC, SanDisk said it plans to use its expertise in security to implement a series of measures to protect the NBC Universal content offered via its Fanfare service, including partnering to explore the implementation of watermarking and filtering technology solutions.

With the iPhone SDK available soon, maybe some of our friends at the dev group
will have enough free time on their hands to hack the living crap out of this
"security".
post #30 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

Anybody else getting pop-under windows when clicking on links on AppleInsider?

Yep. Hate them. It's happening in both the latest Firefox on Mac and PC and Safari 3.0, despite all the browsers being set to block popups. I'll have to sit down and figure out the script so I can set PithHelmet to kill it.

Back on topic, it seems telling that NBC is using the "everything but the kitchen sink" approach to content downloads. This is what, the third service they'll be using concurrently? Seems they're very disorganized. Or desperate.
post #31 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I'm using Safari 3.0.4 in Leopard and I don't see them.

Just because you are not noticing them, doesn't mean they aren't there.

On my slow PPC system I get to painfully watch as clicking on links in an AppleInsider page spawns what appears to be a Flash based popup window. The window draws and then vanishes. I'm really suspicious of what this is trying to do.

Also about 25% of the time, this causes Safari 3.0.4 to crash.
post #32 of 117
Fanfare is only for Windows!
post #33 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by cygnusrk727 View Post

NBC fears losing control of it's own content. That is why they are doing this. Unfortunately Apple is the one who came out of those talks looking child like. Apple should have let NBC do expensive bundles on iTunes, then played the part of "I told you so" later.

I would hate to have to do business with Apple, and I can see why content providers are sick of it.

BUT, if NBC fails with more expensive downloads, it hurts Apple at the same time. I don't want to sound like an Apple apologist, but... at least they have some sense of vision for what the consumer wants, and have a model to provide that information.

The problem is that the video is too locked in with DRM to be successful. Making matters worse, TV has given us all lots of "free" content, but there is no equivalent to a "re-run" with video downloads in a price context.

I think Apple has things wrong on a number of fronts, but the challenge should be to provide better value with the downloads. Maybe Apple really should "open up" the TIVO world and see what that does to the industry.
post #34 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I disagree. Apple's iTunes is the front line for all purchases the average customers and the wags would stating that Apple is the one who has raised the prices, not that NBC demanded it despite Apple's request. Plus, it leaves the door wide open for all iTunes content providers to try different strategies to make more money at the expense of the consumer and iTunes Store reputation.

Your point about having different strategies is well taken but I feel like Apple with it's better reputation could have overcome any bad publicity and then really stuck it to NBC all the while keeping them in the fold.

The real problem now is the perception of Apple being "my way or the highway" with visions of the music industry slaughter at it's feet. NBC is running like hell.
post #35 of 117
As proof of NBC's abject stupidity in this arena . . .

http://real-us.news.yahoo.com/s/nm/2...1/tv_nm/nbc_dc

They're not only FOURTH in the network race, making NO MONEY from iTunes, et. al . . . They're giving money back now!
post #36 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by rtdunham View Post

Makes you wonder what NBC's objections really were.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zendolphyn View Post

I just don't get it... how does NBC think that this partnership, specifically, is better than iTunes for distributing digital content?

Three things NBC might have an interest in:

1. Getting their online content to consumers in a simple, easy way (meaning the on-screen interface AND the pricing schemes).

2. Making the most money they can (whether by sales, rental, subscriptions, or ads).

3. Taking power away from Apple, who clearly knows what they are doing in this area. Apple scares NBC because they are successful, and because they have pushed the music industry (kicking and screaming) in consumer-friendly directions.

NBC should be thinking of #2, but they seem to value #3 above all else. They would rather be the one in power, even if that means working with less-successful, less consumer-friendly service(s).

post #37 of 117
NBC > MSNBC > MS =
Microsoft must be behind it

Now it makes sence
post #38 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by cygnusrk727 View Post

NBC's Hula might suck but they are determined to limp along until they get it right. Just as Microsoft has done with the Zune.

Would that be "got it right" like Zune's wireless sync that tech writers are paid to love? The wireless synch that ONLY works if you plug in a WIRE... and syncs far slower than an iPod that uses the same number of cables to sync?
post #39 of 117
I'm actually glad Sandisk and NBC came into this scene.

Before this happened, everybody was complaining about how bad Apple TV is. Now we get to see the alternatives:
  • a 4GB/8GB device for $100/$150 that you have to truck over from your PC to your TV and connect via composite or S-Video (NOT Hi-Def); or
  • a 40GB/160GB device that syncs wirelessly for $200/$300 (Costco is selling the 160GB Apple TV for $300 now) that connects via component or HDMI (Hi-Def 720p) and also syncs or streams your pictures, podcasts, music, and connects to YouTube (though you might not argue that as a feature )
post #40 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by MatNeh View Post

I'm actually glad Sandisk and NBC came into this scene.

Before this happened, everybody was complaining about how bad Apple TV is. Now we get to see the alternatives:
  • a 4GB/8GB device for $100/$150 that you have to truck over from your PC to your TV and connect via composite or S-Video (NOT Hi-Def); or
  • a 40GB/160GB device that syncs wirelessly for $200/$300 (Costco is selling the 160GB Apple TV for $300 now) that connects via component or HDMI (Hi-Def 720p) and also syncs or streams your pictures, podcasts, music, and connects to YouTube (though you might not argue that as a feature )

There was alternatives long before AppleTV. Amazon.com has been selling crappy media extenders for some time. The prices range from less to more expensive than AppleTV (or did before AppleTV came along) and they all stream video with a very poor success rate. The only plus for these devices is the built in support for many codecs but that is little comfort when the device doesn't work as advertised. i know, I've owned and been pissed off at many of them.
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