How to get around NBC’s boycott of iTunes

Some brain-dead idiot at NBC decided that pull their shows off iTunes.

According to a statement from the company, NBC refused to renew its agreement with iTunes after Apple balked at paying fees that it said would more than double the wholesale price for each NBC TV episode.

Apple said NBC’s demands would have raised the price of NBC shows to $4.99 an episode from the current $1.99 price tag.

Pure, unadulterated arrogance. Once again, a big media company wrongly believes they hold all the chips. Shows like The Office have always been available for download over Usenet or Bit Torrent. But when they came to iTunes many people like myself decided it was worth the $1.99 to get a good quality version without all the hassle of locating a reliable torrent site. I also felt like the networks were finally coming around and offering their programming in a format and over a network that consumers were already familiar with.

And then NBC decided their viewers were all wrong all this time and stopped offering shows like the Office and Heroes on iTunes after last season. They do offer most of their shows on the NBC website but you can’t download them to your computer or iPod and they include commercials. No thank you, NBC.

So here is a solution if you were you used to grabbing missed episodes off iTunes.

  1. Download Miro which is sweet video player that supports BitTorrent and RSS. This allows you to subscribe to your favorite TV program and have it automatically downloaded to your computer when it becomes available.
  2. Once you have Miro installed, all you need is the RSS feed to the program you want to watch/download. You’ll find a huge number of TV feeds at tvRSS including the The Office, Heroes, and 30 Rock.
  3. Once you have the RSS feed, open Miro, go to Channel and add a new channel by giving it the RSS feed you found.

It might find more than one version of an episode so you can go through and delete any duplicates. But once you have it setup, it’s easy set it and forget it. Miro will download the newest episodes automatically as they become available. And unlike the old days, most programing is recorded in HD quality which means they look as good or better than those offered on iTunes. The episodes offered at the NBC website look terrible.

When NBC pulls their head out and goes back to giving their viewers what they want I’ll go back to using iTunes when I miss an episide. But for now, Miro isn’t a bad alternative.