‘NBC Direct’ Lets You Download Full TV Episodes for FREE

Currently offers “Life,” the “Bionic Woman,” “30 Rock,” “The Office,” “Friday Night Lights,” and “Heroes.”

NBC Direct, which is still in beta, has begun offering free full episode downloads of several popular NBC shows. The list of available shows currently includes: “Life,” the “Bionic Woman,” “30 Rock,” “The Office,” “Friday Night Lights,” and “Heroes.” More offerings are planned for the future.

These download offerings are in addition to free streaming of episodes from “Chuck,” Journeyman,” “Las Vegas,” “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” “Passions,” “Phenomenon,” “Scrubs,” and “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.”

The are a few drawbacks however, to using NBC Direct. The first is that you have to use the IE browser. I can’t remember the last time I used anything but Firefox and made me a little nervous frankly. Then you have to install NBC’s Direct player which ensures that any content you download stays on your PC only as long as NBC sees fit.

In addition, all episode downloads are available for only 7 days after they initially air on TV. Once you start watching it you have only 48 hours before it deletes itself. Each show also contains advertisements that can’t be skipped.

On the upside though, you can choose to subscribe to your favorite TV shows so that you’ll automatically download new episodes each week. This may come in handy for those too lazy to configure their BitTorrent client to do the same.

After all the NBC Chief’s grumbling about how Apple wouldn’t let it raise the price of downloads from $1.99 to reportedly $4.99, I think it’s hilarious that NBC is now testing the idea of free ad-supported downloads. Sure they only stick around for 48 hours, but how many times you can honestly watch the same episode?