NBC hasn’t been happy with Apple for awhile now in part because Apple refuses to deviate from its one-price-fits-all policy for downloads. So NBC decided to take its ball and go play with Amazon’s new Unbox download service. The other reason for the switch? Amazon’s Unbox allows for more restrictive DRM on downloads:
“This further expands our longstanding relationship to bring a robust content offering to the marketplace in a variety of ways that will benefit the consumer and, at the same time, protects our content,” said NBC Universal’s president of digital distribution, Jean-Briac Perrette, in a statement.
“Protecting content” is a tip of the hat to NBC’s concerns over DRM. Amazon and Apple both use DRM for video, but Apple’s DRM policies are considered to be “too lax” by many players in the TV and movie business. Apple’s terms allow for authorized for playback on as many as five different devices. Furthermore, Apple-approved devices can be authorized to play content purchased from five different accounts.
Compare Unbox: Shows bought from Unbox can be kept on two computers max and can be stored on up to two different (approved) media players. Users cannot “mix” accounts, meaning that a PC cannot have authorized content purchased from two different accounts accessible at the same time. As you can see, Unbox is more restrictive.
This is a bit of a gamble for the folks at NBC as Amazon’s Unbox files won’t work on Apple or Linux PCs nor on the ever popular video iPods, the latter being the most significant as it’s still the dominate portable media player. Again given the fact that all of the shows NBC is worried about protecting with more restrictive DRM are available for free on BitTorrent you have to wonder just who and what NBC thinks it’s protecting its content from. Once again they opt to punish the legitimate consumers in hopes of squeezing a few more pennies out of them.