NBC Online + Interlaced Video = Bad Viewing Experience

Last night, Erin, Indie and I were winding down our Sunday by catching up on some episodes of The Office. We used to download missed episodes on iTunes but conveniently, NBC now offers full episodes on their site for free. Unfortunately sets of commercials are still interspersed every 8-10 minutes. But I think that’s worth saving a dollar.

I have used a couple free online broadcast video players, such as the Discovery Channel, NBC and Hulu. Their interfaces are pretty intuitive and for the most part flow smoothly from video to commercials. Although I must say I am more impressed with the Discovery Channel’s investment than NBC’s. Most video players allow multiple viewing options and hulu even offers their videos in HD.

The one thing I noticed on NBC’s video site is the lack of Quality Assurance with their commercials. It seemed like all their commercials were still interlaced, meaning that they consist of upper and lower fields. This technology is only used on televisions, while video displaying on a computer screen should be deinterlaced or progressive scan. How could they miss that?

[Ok, here's a weird quirk. I just logged onto the NBC site to try and get a screen grab of the commercials to show as an example. Thing is, I can't get the commercials to play! I checked on both Firefox and Explorer. So what does that mean? I have a PC here at work and a MAC at home. Do only those viewing on MACs have to be subjected to commercials? Strange. Sorry, no image example for you.]

We are always thorough at DDA with proofing and quality assurance. Time is always factored into a project from the initial proposal to make sure that spokesperson DVDs play flawlessly, CD-ROMs with tracking databases populate properly, large scale prints are free of typos and artifacts, and videos are interlaced or deinterlaced for their appropriate application.