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NBC, Time Warner refusing to move to HTML5?

updated 01:00 pm EDT, Thu May 27, 2010

NBC and Time Warner hoping Flash bites Apple

A number of major studios that include NBC and Time Warner are deliberately rejecting HTML5 video in favor of Flash, rumors maintained today. TV networks have allegedly told Apple they have no plans to switch as the cost and results wouldn't be worthwhile. None of the involved companies has confirmed or denied the remarks.

The direct confrontation would be a potential bargaining chip that would reduce Apple's power with the media, the NY Post sources said. While they didn't rule out native iPad apps, one of which may be in development for Hulu, leaving the web versions as Flash would give more power to competing tablets like the Dell Streak or HP Slate. Google TV would also gain the upper hand over projects like Apple TV as a result. Both NBC and Time Warner currently want Flash as it lets them either insert ads or prevent easy copying.

Whether or not the strategy works isn't certain. The Streak currently runs Android 1.6 and would be ineligible for using Flash until at least September, when an OS upgrade is due. The HP slate also may not ship until October and could leave opposing studios at a disadvantage for months.

Their opinions may also be in the minority, as ABC, CBS and Fox have already implemented partial or total options for viewing their videos on the iPad for free through either HTML5 or native apps. Owners can already watch some NBC content on a subscription through the Netflix app.

by MacNN Staff



  1. lkrupp

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The Art of the Deal

    Big chess game being played here. The records labels tried to reign in Apple by giving preferential treatment to Amazon while ITMS was forced to keep DRM. Well, we all know how that tactic panned out don't we.

    Same thing being tried by the media industry now. I fully understand their concern, however. Just as Steve Jobs doesn't want third party layers between his devices and customers the media giants don't want to become dependent on a single content distributor. They don't want just Apple between them and their customers.

    It's business, that's all. None of these players consider the other guys evil in a moral sense (well, maybe Google). They are acting out of what they think are their corporate interests. So, yes, NBC and the others will try to slow down or impede Apple's advance. The phones lines are probably heating up between Cupertino and Hollywood as we speak.

    Steve Jobs has made his move. NBC and others have countered. It's all a big chess game.

  1. chefpastry

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple between?

    Going HTML5 will not put Apple between the media companies and their customers. It opens them up to everyone.

    Besides, I highly doubt this story. I don't think Apple would bother asking NBC or TW to do anything. When NBC and TW realize their customers can't access their content, they will move on their own.

  1. charlituna

    Joined: Dec 1969


    couple of facts for the mix

    the New York Post is barely above a tabloid in reputation. take their claims with a big grain of salt

    TimeWarner and NBC both have a record for being very slow on the uptake with new tech.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Apple between?

    Going HTML5 will not put Apple between the media companies and their customers. It opens them up to everyone.

    That's assuming you have a browser that supports HTML5 (which hasn't even been finalized yet). As opposed to Flash, which is on most people's computers when they get it.

    And, as discussed in the Hulu article, HTML5 doesn't offer the capabilities that Flash offers that these people need/want. Of course, everyone always acts like Flash is just used to play video.....

    And they bring up the same point I keep asking. Who's paying for the forced change? If Apple's going to insist on this "No flash for the iPhone, switch to HTML5", perhaps Apple should send some cash the way of the big distributors to pay for the conversion.

  1. Jazzbeau

    Joined: Dec 1969


    NBC needs the ratings

    NBC needs to get on the iPad, because even if only Steve Jobs watched their shows that would dramatically increase their ratings!

    TW - is that a network?

    No problem for me: all the shows I watch are on the three networks that already support the iPad.

  1. pairof9s

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Aren't these the same guys?!

    Didn't NBC play hardball w/ Apple & iTunes over the pricing structure of its TV shows a couple of years ago? They seem quite paranoid and thus quite determined to thwart Apple's media power. Seems NBC/TimeWarner is still smarting from that whole digital music on iTunes deal.

    So how's that $1.29/song working out for you guys in stopping piracy?! Yeah, I thought so!


  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    We'll see if these companies are so smug

    by the end of the year after about six million iPads have been sold. I do understand them entirely and if they are not anxious about spending money immediately for HTML5 then that remains entirely their choice. Nothing wrong with taking a wait and see attitude. Maybe they're really waiting to see how well Flash is going to run on mobile devices. If Adobe delivers a clinker then they might have to change their stance unless they're not really concerned about mobile users.

  1. byRyan

    Joined: Dec 1969



    this all boils down to quality. As far as flash video, every demo I have seen of it on a mobile device... or even a g5 based desktop for that matter, is subpar.

    HTML5 on the other hand is a baby. I keep hearing about it, but where are the development tools? If adobe was smart - they would make a flash-like development application for HTML 5 so that people have a convenient way to deploy advanced html 5 content.

    I understand why the TV stations aren't rushing to HTML5 because they have built a whole flash ecosystem around inserting ads and protecting the content. On the other hand, when people finally get these tablets with flash, and watch video that looks like c***, they are going to demand a switch to better technology anyways.

    Apple keeps getting slammed for not having flash, but it seems like every other device that can is still in a beta stage. If adobe ever gets it s*** together and produces a stable mobile version of flash - I bet you will see it as an option in future iphones/pads but apple has stated - we won't be your guinea pigs

  1. Athens

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Here is something I've noticed

    I dont see many torrents these days with the ABC or Fox or CBS logos on them any more. For Fox labeled files I only see Simpsons and family Guy. Everything else I see NBC. A lot of NBC actually. This tells me a lot of people are using the free sources watch CBS and Fox while people are still ripping NBC content from TV to upload.

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