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Wednesday, December 07, 2005, 10:00 am PT (01:00 pm ET)

NBC unhappy with TiVo, says more content coming to iTunes

NBC Universal is miffed over recent announcements by EchoStar and TiVo — two companies that will allow users to download TV and movies to a portable player for free — and says to expect additional announcements with Apple's iTunes in the coming weeks.

EchoStar's Dish Network introduced the PocketDish handheld in October, which allows users to download TV and movies to a portable player for free. Meanwhile, TiVo said last month that as part of its TiVoToGo service it will enable the easy transfer of recorded content to Apple's iPod and the Sony PSP.

"This is clearly not the proper way to behave," NBC Universal TV president Jeff Zucker told Variety. "We have worked in concert with Apple to benefit the consumer; where others are not working with content providers is clearly not in the best interest of the consumer."

NBC's recent digital download deal with Apple reportedly took on additional urgency this year as illegal downloads of TV shows exploded. The conglomerate estimates there are over 430,000 illegal downloads of its "Battlestar Galactica" program each week.

The NBC deal expands Apple's iTunes video offering to 300 episodes of 16 different series, with Zucker saying that number will expand quickly as NBC works to fill the iTunes with additional shows.

"You are going to see a series of announcements in the coming weeks," he said.

On Tuesday, NBC Universal announced that it would begin delivering a slew of programming through Apple's iTunes video service, including NBC’s “Law & Order,” “The Office,” “Surface,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Late Night with Conan O'Brien,” the USA Network’s Emmy Award-winning “Monk” and Sci-Fi Channel’s “Battlestar Galactica” as well as classic TV shows including “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “Dragnet,” “Adam-12” and “Knight Rider.”