NBC.com is launching a new service to handle this--NBC Direct. NBC Direct will give users high-quality video, complementing the streaming of NBC ad-supported program episodes that have been available on NBC.com for some time.
NBC Direct will have a preliminary launch in October to test its service--and will be available initially on Windows-based computers.
NBC's shows 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."
The announcement comes on the heels of some major digital distribution business adjustments at NBC--specifically in regard to downloading of programming.
NBC and Apple's iTunes Music Store ended their pay-per-download service of NBC shows, because of issues over retail pricing and packaging. NBC then started up a similar pay-per-download deal with Amazon's Unbox service because the big online retailer allowed for more flexibility of pricing and program packaging.
Later on, NBC Direct will allow DRM--digital rights management--protected versions of its programs to be downloaded to Mac-based computers and portable devices.
Future digital distribution will include downloading of programs through peer-to-peer (P2P) distribution networks. NBC might also develop other download-to-own, rental and subscription business models.