Hands On: NBC streams 30 Rock and The Office over iPhone

Looks like our parent company NBC has brushed aside iTunes for its online iPhone viewing, and gone directly to the people. If you navigate to NBC.com on your iPhone’s Safari browser, you can now watch full episodes of 30 Rock and The Office using the iPhone’s QuickTime player. How does it look? We tested it over Wi-Fi and the dog-slow EDGE network on our iPhone.

Streaming 30 Rock over our quick Wi-Fi network was rather pleasant. After waiting six seconds while the data loaded, the show started with nary a dropped frame. But this video is not looking good, not at all. Even on the iPhone’s tiny screen, the resolution is decidedly grainy and a bit washed out. The episode is inconveniently split into three parts, but each starts up quickly and plays without a hitch. And hey, check it out: There are no commercials. We like. Just keep paying us, though, NBC.

The EDGE network is a different story. Try watching NBC’s videos away from a Wi-Fi connection on an iPhone, and the experience is next to impossible. After a 52-second wait for the video to buffer, it played back for 7 seconds before stalling for more buffering.

Of course, the slowpoke EDGE network has never been useful in our book, only marginally workable if you’re desperate to receive a tiny email message or some text. By the way, if you’re thinking about springing for an iPhone, wait until the much faster 3G version ships next month.

Overall? Bravo, NBC. These two shows streamed over iPhone, while grainy, are a good start.