Coming soon: NerdTV

PBS will start NerdTV, its first downloadable series, on Sept. 6. The series will be broadcast exclusively over the Internet. Not only is PBS allowing downloads of the series, it is encouraging people to “copy the shows, share them with friends and even post them on their own Web sites – all legally.”

NerdTV ( will feature columnist Robert X. Cringely’s interviews with personalities in the tech industry. PBS said the “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).” The site will also offer audio-only versions of the series in AAC, MP3 and ogg vorbis formats.

Here’s part of the PBS announcement:

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?”

I watched Cringely’s “Triumph of the Nerds” as part of Konrad Adenauer Center for Journalism’s Reporting on IT course taught by journalism veteran Chin Wong and found the documentary to be both fun and very informative. In that documentary, Cringely revealed he was Apple’s employee number 13 and missed out on the stock bonanza when he turned down Steve Jobs’ offer for stock options and insisted on being paid in cash.

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