Pioneering Another Technology First, PBS Launches NerdTV, the First Downloadable Web-Exclusive Series From a Major Broadcaster

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A Whole New Kind Of Television For Niche Audiences


TV Critics Press Tour, Los Angeles, CA (July 13, 2005) - Beginning Sept. 6, PBS will make available - exclusively over the Internet - broadcast television's first entirely downloadable series, featuring PBS technology columnist and industry insider Robert X. Cringely's interviews with personalities from the ever-changing world of technology. NerdTV will be available for download from www.pbs.org/nerdtv.

Said Cringely, "NerdTV will have an uninterrupted hour with the smartest, funniest and sometimes nerdiest people in high tech. These are people who have changed our lives whether we know it or not. Through NerdTV a broad audience of enthusiasts and students will gain a much greater understanding of these techies and the context of their lives and work." Cringely is the author of the best-selling book Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can't Get a Date.

Among the first NerdTV guests are PayPal co-founder Max Levchin; original Macintosh programmer Andy Hertzfeld; and Sun Microsystems co-founder and the father of Berkeley UNIX, Bill Joy. The premier program will include a two-minute feature called "What the heck is NerdTV?" The 13 one-hour shows will be made available on a weekly basis after the launch date and all previous episodes will continue to be available through the NerdTV Web site. NerdTV viewers are actually encouraged to download and copy the shows, share them with friends and even post them on their own Web sites - all legally.

Cindy Johanson, Senior Vice President, PBS Interactive Learning, said, "Over the past ten years, PBS and its member stations have led the way with some of the most innovative, meaningful multimedia experiences available. Bob Cringely's NerdTV illustrates our unwavering commitment to bring audiences clever, on-demand, participatory programming." She added, "This ground-breaking series will be distributed under a Creative Commons license, so if viewers like what they see, they can redistribute the shows or even edit their own non-commercial version. Further, NerdTV offers a cost-effective production model that may transform how programming is made in the future."

Viewers will be able to choose which content or format they download to their computer: MP4 video of the whole program, MP4 video of the "juicy" excerpt (for a more general audience wanting just a nugget) and MP4 video of the "nerdy" excerpt (for a more technical audience wanting just a nugget). In addition, a variety of audio-only formats will be available, including AAC, MP3 and ogg vorbis.

Cringely noted, "With more than half of American homes with Internet access now using broadband, computer video - especially downloaded computer video - has become a viable but still little-used option for TV distribution. The strength of this new medium can be found in how it serves niche audiences. This is where Internet distribution shines."

About PBS

PBS is a private, nonprofit media enterprise that serves the nation's 348 public noncommercial television stations, reaching nearly 90 million people each week. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is the leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of educational services for adult learners. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online (pbskids.org), continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, the leading dot-org Web site on the Internet. PBS is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.


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Kevin Dando, PBS; 703-739-5073; kdando@pbs.org