NBC.com to offer free downloads of ‘The Office’

From today’s press release:

NBC.com today announced the launch of its new service, “NBC Direct,” which will allow users to download and view NBC’s popular primetime and late-night entertainment programming on their desktops for up to one week after broadcast … The list of programs available at launch will include “Heroes,” “The Office,” “Life,” “Bionic Woman,” “30 Rock,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”


Tipster: Scott


  1. Wow, NBC is really trying to spin the whole Itunes thing their way… Hey, whatever. At least I won’t need to buy cable just to see my favorite show.

  2. So when they say ‘download’, does that mean I can keep the whole episode for as long as I want and watch it how many times I want to?
    OR does it mean that It’s going to buffer and I can only see it once, unless I go through the process again?

  3. That’s smart for NBC. They really screwed (or ITunes screwed them, who knows the truth) themselves breaking off the relationship. The Office along with other shows were saved bc of the downloading site and the new shows plus the old ones that are drowning (30 Rock) really need something like this as an alternative.

  4. “for up to one week after broadcast . . . ” Only one week? Hmmm, hopefully there’s a way to get around that . . .

  5. They still won’t be able to be put on iPods though, right? And the link says “ad-supported”, so they are going to include commercials too. I guess they are all about greed at NBC. That being said, I will still probably download them.

  6. Yeah this is cool. I downloaded some Office episodes off iTunes 2 years ago and can watch them today the same as I did then. This may be free, but I’d rather pay the $2 to keep the download forever without ads.

  7. Depending on what type of file the download will be, it may be possible to convert that file to work with itunes. (insert evil laugh here)

  8. Forgive my confusion, is this in addition to, or instead of, the online streaming that we heard about recently? Anyone?

  9. It sounds good for now. If you read the last couple graphs though, they talk about adding “paid business plans,” including download-to-own, rental and subscription. And DRM is a fairly controversial subject.

    I’ll really miss being able to get and keep them via iTunes. I don’t have Tivo, and iTunes helped me so much in really getting into the show during the second season, esp. when my work schedule didn’t let me get home in time to watch. I still bought the DVD sets of course. :)

  10. So can we download them permanently to the computer? Why go through all this hoopla? It seems like this will take more time and money for NBC. They might as well just stick with iTunes where EVERYONE was happy.

  11. This is great news! I think this is kind of like the rental program that Amazon Unbox offers, only it’s free, and I don’t mind a few ads. Come on, folks, I think NBC is really trying here. The way I see it, the glass is way more than half full. I still hope a deal can be worked out with iTunes, since “Office” eps and iPod portability are such a perfect match. Sure, it’s easy to see this as NBC trying to pacify the online audience, telling us that everything is going to be ok, but things are as they are. Who can say iTunes won’t be knocking on the door soon and asking NBC out for a date? Until then, I’m thrilled to be able to download “Office” eps to my computer for free, even if it is only for a limited period of viewing. Thanks for the news, tanster!

  12. I get that they have a beef with Mac but this sucks for us Mac users!! I love watching on my laptop and now I won’t be able to at all. I know we are in the minority as far as computer users are concerned, but as far as down loaders and digital consumers we are a pretty big percentage. Heather from SD

  13. I agree Heather. I’m a Mac user too. This sucks big time for me. Oh well. I hope they’ll still have it free on nbc.com too

  14. This is great… for people in the U.S.
    Too bad I’m in Canada… arggg.
    Why can’t it work here, too??

  15. Wow. This is great. I have no Tivo or DVR and I will be missing the first two new episodes since they air on Jewish holidays on which I don’t watch TV. Now I’ll be able to catch up for free. I don’t think it can get much better. I know I’ll be parked in front of my computer on Saturday night on the 29th and Oct. 6th instead of cleaning up my kitchen.

  16. Yep, another Mac user here… well, it was fun to be excited about it for a minute. :) I’m happy for those of you for whom this set-up (streaming online and Windows-downloads) will work (maybe better than iTunes)! It’s not so much better for some of us. All is not lost at our house–we just got DVR, so that’s good for us, but poor NBC and nbc.com will be getting less traffic/business from us. Much sympathy for those of you in the same boat!

  17. Don’t your realize that a huge portion of your fans are mac users, considering how much apple has loved and promoted your show? Way to screw us mac users over!

  18. Doesn’t it say at the bottom that they are beta testing on PC and will make it available for Macs Early next year, or did I get that wrong?
    This is a nice holdover, but I’d still rather have iTunes. The Office is the whole reason I bought a video iPod.

  19. What I think they should consider (assuming no going back to itunes) is coming out with a mini DVD of 5 or 6 episodes a few times during the season. For like 8 or 9 dollars each.

    It would help satisfy those who want to own the episodes, not just watch them.

    And by the way I don’t think we should assume nbc is the bad guy in the nbc vs itunes fight. There’s probably a lot we don’t know as to who was the greedy party and such.

  20. If you watch the show closely, you’ll remember:

    Mac User = Jim Halpert, in “Email Surveilance”
    Mac User = Ryan Howard. in “The Fight”
    Mac Users = Numerous MBA-candidates at the University of Scranton

    And, yet, NBC has turned its back on us all…

  21. Hi Everyone, I just read the press release and noticed an email address at the bottom:

    [email protected]

    I wrote him and told him (politely) that I think NBC is making a big mistake in splitting ways with iTunes. Maybe if enough of us email him directly, we can make a statement! I think he’d especially like to hear from all the Mac/iPod users that are being shut out.

  22. I was truly excited… until I saw the PC based. My mac and I are crying tears for what could have been.

  23. Personally, I’m a PC, but maybe if everyone with concerns emailed NBC, they can fix it sooner rather than later.

  24. That’s one of the big reasons I’m not a Mac user…because nearly everything is tailored for use on a PC. That and a dozen other reasons. Not that I think Macs are really terrible or anything, I just realize that a PC is a better fit for me.

    For all the Mac users however, I will hope something comes down the pipe so you guys and gals can get in on the action.

  25. “There’s probably a lot we don’t know as to who was the greedy party and such.”

    I think it’s obvious NBC was the greedy party here. Apple is looking out for the consumer; NBC wants to jack up the price so we’re paying the equivalent of a DVD boxed set, without the DVDs. Apple wouldn’t bend, NBC said bye-bye. Bad, bad move on their part.

    I’m glad for this since I have class on Thursdays and no Tivo, but I have my doubts anyway…I had a lot of problems trying to watch streaming eps of Heroes last year.

  26. NBC is rather strange. “Why make money off of iTunes (which the fans know and love) when we can make NO money off of our own download system?” Oh well. I’m glad I’ll have a way to re-watch the shows.

    I’m confused, though. Did it say that we only have a week to download before they expire or do the downloads themself expire on your PC a week later? THAT would suck.

  27. The ridiculousness of NBC is truly why they are the #4 network. Let’s not reduce our own overhead costs and actually make money off allowing Apple to conduct our download service, let’s employ our own people for a free service, that will just irritate people, because Mac users can’t download from the site, and the downloads only last a week.

    Excuse me NBC but I had no problem paying $2/download on itunes to be able to watch my favorite show whenever I wanted and without a bunch of ads in it.

    I cannot believe how many people on here are okay with NBCs new “genius” download service? itunes or bust NBC, none of this NBC Direct or hulu nonsense. You were the only network that had new shows this upcoming season I actually wanted to watch, but I have a boycott on all your new stuff until common sense prevails and you resign with Apple and itunes. Otherwise, pull up a chair, put your feet up, and get comfortable as #4.

  28. Yeah, NBC is for the fans alright. Sure. If they cared they would stay with itunes, instead of limiting the fans to downloads that weren´t commercial free and expired after a week. Not only that, but downloads which ONLY work on Microsoft?? Come ON!! They´re basically screwing over they´re fans because itunes wasn´t convenient enough for them. WHY? It made them money. Their shows were one of the most downloaded off itunes. It was convenient for the fans. I didn´t mind paying $1.99 for an episode because it was commercial free and I could watch it whenever I wanted. I could download it to my ipod and watch it while I was waiting for class to start. Now i´m one of the people that have been screwed over because I have an operating system made by a company that is in a tiff with NBC. I guess they figure that we cant go anywhere else to get episodes, because they have the copyright. This whole thing really pisses me off

  29. So… is it only downloads? Or streaming and DLs? I must know. I’m a very concerned Mac user. ESPECIALLY since I won’t be able to see the episodes this year because of church

  30. The cliffs notes version is:

    Streaming from the website, as well as this NBC direct which at launch is PC only. However the last paragraph sounds promising:

    Future versions of “NBC Direct,” which will roll out over the next several months, will provide expanded platform functionality and will allow DRM (“digital rights management”) protected versions of its programs to be downloaded to Macs and portable devices in addition to PCs. NBC.com plans future enhancements such as high-resolution versions of programming made available via a closed P2P (“peer to peer”) distribution network. Using closed P2P will ensure that the maximum number of users will be able to view consistent, high-quality content directly from their desktops. Later in 2008, NBC.com plans to offer other business models for downloaded content in order to provide its users multiple options to consume their favorite NBC programs. These paid business models may include download-to-own, rental and subscription.

  31. aww man! Do you think the feud between Apple and NBC is the reason they aren’t immediately offering the downloads for Mac too? There are a lot of Mac users out there. This seems unfair since Apple has made its products and software (Itunes, ipod) available for PC users, why can’t they make this available for everyone?
    At least the streaming video works on a Mac, and I suppose if you can only keep the episodes for a week, we’re not missing out on too much.

  32. From the office of Joe Libonati at NBC…

    the program will be active for one week after broadcast, you can download it anytime during that seven day period. afer seven days, the new episode will be available and the previous will expire on your desktop and you will not be able to download it from our site.

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