NBC recently had a spat with Apple with the result that NBC is moving the online video sales for its TV shows from iTunes to Amazon’s Unbox and in the process locking out all the Apple iPod users. This spurred CNET’s Chris Soghoian to mention the unmentionable – TV Torrents: When ‘piracy’ is easier than legal purchase:
NBC’s recent withdrawal from the iTunes store leaves the millions of users of Apple iPods without a legitimate way to purchase and watch NBC’s content. Could this be the push that brings easy-to-use ‘piracy’ to the masses? This article discusses the issues, and then provides step-by-step instructions to setup a computer to automatically download any of hundreds of TV shows as soon as they are broadcast and put online.
The legitimate and legal online media stores cannot compete with file sharing on price. Furthermore, as iTunes, Amazon, Walmart and the other stores all wrap their media in restrictive Digitial Rights Management (DRM), they cannot compete on freedom, flexibility and the ability to transfer purchased media to other devices. The only areas where they have the upper hand are in quality, and ease of use.
It’s taken some time, but the ‘piracy’ path has finally gotten to be more user-friendly and easy to use than iTunes and the other pay-services. Miro, a multi-platform RSS and BitTorrent enabled media client is now very stable, polished and fast. Using a tool such as this, and a couple minutes of configuration to subscribe to your favorite shows, it’s now possible for users worldwide to wake up to the latest episode of The Daily Show, without paying a penny, or being locked into a restrictive DRM scheme. It’s still illegal of course, but that hasn’t stopped the millions of file sharers who have made BitTorrent responsible for more than 25% of all Internet traffic.
Yes, easy 3-step directions are provided as well as the caveat that this is illegal in the USA and many other countries. However, the point is that the conflicting web of DRM and vendor lock-in has created a situation in which many users will find the illegal solution is the only solution as well as being free and now easy to use. It doesn’t take an Einstein to figure this one out.