No longer content to be the only major TV network not on iTunes, NBC returns to Apple's downloading service today. You may remember that NBC Universal (our parent, by the way) stormed out of iTunes last fall when the two couldn't come to an agreement over pricing. Now, after months of negotiation, the two are reunited, bringing back NBC, USA, SCI FI (booya!), Bravo, NBC News and Sleuth — in all, more than 100 series — to Apple's downloading service. Content from NBC Sports, Telemundo, Chiller, CNBC and Oxygen is said to be on the way.
But things are different this time around. The biggest change: NBC will be offering 25 series in HD, including their fall premieres. That's great news to anyone with a media receiver (especially an Apple TV), who likes watching iTunes videos on a big screen. Initially, Apple will offer shows from NBC, USA and SCI FI in HD, but there's a catch. Hit Continue to read more.
The catch is — you guessed it — price. The NBC channels first broke with Apple because they wanted more flexible pricing, and it looks like they got it. Content will be ranked on three tiers, with "deep library" stuff (think A-Team) costing $0.99, regular SD stuff at $1.99 (the standard iTunes price for TV episodes), and $2.99 for HD downloads. All in all, not bad.
We're glad NBC has returned to Apple's playground, and heartily endorse the expanded availability of HD content on iTunes. Still, unless you watch iTunes videos on a separate TV or were looking forward to checking out Lipstick Jungle on your iPod, there's not much reason get your shows from iTunes instead of streaming them for free on NBC.com or Hulu.