NBC.com is awful, Hulu.com is not

I wish NBC and Apple would work things out because I’d like to pay to download a couple weeks’ worth of The Office and 30 Rock that my DVR didn’t record because, well, you don’t want all those details. NBC no longer sells episodes via iTunes but it gives them away on NBC.com in exchange for you watching an ad. So I’ve been forced to attempt to do something that is, I’ve determined, impossible to do: Watch an episode of anything on NBC.com. I’ve tried multiple times, in multiple browsers, and it is the most glitchy, customer-hating approach to “content distribution” I’ve witnessed since AOL used to download stuff to your desktop whenever you dialed them up. I just tried to watch the most recent 30 Rock (I’m spending a few hours in the JetBlue waiting area at JFK) and the only thing NBC.com will do is loop 30-second spots for Ask.com.

Dear Apple: I’d be happy to pay a variable price exceeding $1.99 per episode for the chance to download an episode. Dear NBC: Cut a deal with Amazon.com if Apple won’t play. Just quit pretending your Flash streaming crap on NBC.com is something that works.

Ironically, earlier today I received an invitation to try out the new NBC/Universal-Fox joint venture, Hulu.com. Two clicks and a two-week old episode of 30 Rock is streaming beautifully. Unfortunately, it’s not the episode I missed. Oh well.

Then I noticed the Simpsons episodes on Hulu.com are current and since I haven’t seen any of them, well, what are long waits in airports for?

Update: See, this is why I blog. Within a few moments of me posting this (well, about as long as a Simpson’s episode, my Nashville-blog friend, Katherine Coble, commented below that Amazon.com does, indeed, have the shows NBC won’t distribute via iTunes. Unfortunately (for me, at least) the Amazon “unbox” player only works on Windows. Also, I embedded above a little clip from Hulu.com using a cool feature that lets you edit a little bite of a program. It takes a little guessing-work to find the spot you want to clip, but it’s a very cool little feature. The short clip has a hilarious welcome message for the newest member of the Fox family.

Update 2: Apparently, Apple is adding code to iTunes that portends a rental option in the future. Maybe NBC can agree to that. Come on, people. Let’s all be friends.

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