Need a "30 Rock" fix? How about some "Friday Night Lights?" Forget paying Apple two bucks for every iTunes download: Just stream the shows to your iPhone or iPod Touch instead.
No, the rumored Hulu app hasn't arrived yet. But if you point your mobile browser to m.nbc.com, you'll find you can watch full episodes of more than a dozen NBC shows. Free!
(Interestingly, the mobile CBS site (iphone.cbs.com) can stream video in the iPhone-friendly QuickTime format as well, but for the moment, you'll find only clips and recaps, not full episodes.) Note: CNET is published by CBS Interactive, a unit of CBS.
As you might expect, the shows are broken up into chunks that conveniently coincide with commercial breaks. An episode of "The Office," for instance, kicks off with a 15-second commercial, followed by the first eight minutes or so of the episode. Then it's on to chunk No. 2, which also starts with a commercial. It's all very Hulu-like, except that you have to start each segment manually.
In addition to the aforementioned gems, NBC has episodes of "Heroes," "Life," "Parks and Recreation," and (shudder) "The Celebrity Apprentice." The number of available episodes varies (rather inexplicably) from one show to another. You might find a generous 15 episodes of "Knight Rider," but only one "Medium."
Hey, beggars can't be choosers. The shows I streamed looked silky-smooth (even full-screen) and sounded great--at least over Wi-Fi and 3G. (EDGE streaming was predictably jerky.) So while we're waiting for that fabled Hulu app, we can park our browsers at NBC and get taste of what the streaming-TV life will be like. So far, it tastes gooooood.