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NBC Direct is Live - Hands On : First Impressions

NBC Direct, the free ad supported full episode download offering is now live in public beta at NBC Video.
First Impressions

Things I Liked

  • NBC is beginning to get 2.0
  • Video quality is nearly on par with the illegal content already up on BitTorrent
  • 2 of my favorite shows (30 Rock and The Office) are both available
  • Downloads are fast
  • Ads are short
  • You can subscribe to entire series, automatically downloading each new episode as it becomes available.
  • Most of my gripes are already being addressed (as noted on the FAQ page).

Things I Would Like To See In The Next Build

  • Firefox support.  To be totally honest, I never use internet explorer anymore.
  • Content portability.  If I wanted to watch a full episode from my computer, I might as well use Hulu.
  • Better integration with Windows Media Player Library - how about deleting an episode once it can't be viewed anymore?  Or allowing me to play the complete episode with ads via my Xbox 360's media extender platform? Or wirelessly sync an episode to my new Zune?
  • Better ad quality.  I know this may sound odd, but the ad I saw was unwatchable, playing at about 5 frames per second (acceptable fps rates run in the mid to high 20s).
  • Smart Targeted Ads.  Pasta sauce (the ad I received) isn't relevant to me.
  • More Content.  Five shows are a good start, but lets get some more variety up there.   (note: Mashable reports that this is already in the works.)  Back-catalog programming would be a great way to sell more DVDs!
  • Tighter integration with other NBC properties.  If my video expired, please redirect me to Hulu, and Amazon Unbox.  If want to discuss an episode, why not direct me to a fan forum?

Overall, the product is quite good.  The downloads are fast, the video quality and content is good.  And best of all, it's free. 

One quick word of advice:
run windows update before installing.  You will need the latest Windows Media Player updates, and my laptop crashed twice while trying to install those updates from within the NBC Direct installer environment.  First update your media player, then install NBC Direct.