NBC Direct Offers TV Downloads

Watching the tube through your PC is getting better, but cheap, easy connections are needed.

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It's getting more appealing to hook a computer to the living room television, with NBC now saying it will add another way to watch its popular TV shows over the Internet. The new NBC Direct service next month will allow free downloads with commercials, and later a way to buy them without commercials. NBC execs say they understand that consumers want to watch TV when they want and where they want.

I personally want to watch TV on my television. So the question for me is when. I've relied on TiVo or other DVRs to control the timing of shows, as long as I remember to record them. Getting them over the Internet seems a great backup for programs that don't get recorded. I could also, after the fact, download episodes I never knew I'd want to watch until everybody's talking about them.

There seems to be more emphasis on getting TV shows to hand-held devices. That's of little interest to me and to most people, I'd think. Maybe college kids and younger ones have time to watch TV outside the house. I don't.

Getting a PC that will work with a big-screen TV, meanwhile, is expensive or tortuous, or both. There should be one cable to run video and sound from a PC to a TV. A connector called HDMI might help, and it's now found on most new TVsā€”but it's still rare on a computer. Even with HDMI, a computer image often needs mind-numbing tweaking for a big-screen TV. For these new download services to become popular, we're going to need cheap PCs that connect easily to TVs. Maybe sometime this century.