In a move that blatantly rides on the video iPod's coattails, CBS and Comcast, as well as NBC and DirecTV, have made deals that will let you to watch current primetime shows just hours after they're played over the air. Shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Law & Order lead the pack of programs that will be available. (Doesn't Law & Order already air 800,000 times per day on four different channels for free?).
"As with the Disney iPod deal, I think this deal is symbolic of the new age," said Leslie Moonves, co-president and chief operating officer of Viacom Inc. and chairman of CBS.
I can't help but read the subtext of this statement as: "We were too slow and lacked the foresight to bow before Jobs, so instead we took all our toys and went to Leslie's house to play."
Come January, you'll be treated to CBS-Comcast VOD like "CSI," "NCIS," "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race." All of these will be available to you on PPV at midnight after the original show airs for .99 cents. (That is so cheap that it's almost an insult — Survivor is only worth .99 cents!) Unlike the Apple/ABC deal, all the commercials will be left intact. Although you should be able to fast forward through them if this is regular VOD, right? Right??
NBC's deal is a bit different. Here your shows will be commercial-free on DirecTV, though you can only get them if you buy a DirecTV Plus Interactive DVR — which will be available in the next few months. This will cover shows like Surface and The Office as well as the Law and Order franchise and even some shows from its cable networks like Monk and Battlestar Gallactica.