Wednesday, August 26, 2009

PlayOn: Impressed

As usual, I am late to the PlayOn party. PlayOn is software that you put on your pc that will stream video to DLNA complaint hardware. What this means is you can watch Hulu, Youtube, netflix (others) through your Xbox 360,PS3, Wii and more.

I was skeptical at first, as these media solutions can be a pain to setup. There was a free trial of the software so I thought "Why not?" The software install was very easy and required no additional setup.

My testbed was going to be the Wii. In order to receive the PlayOn stream I needed to get the web browser. This was the hardest part of the whole process. To get the browser, you have to go into the Wii Shopping Channel, then to the Channels section. In there you will find the Internet Channel, which costs 500 points.

An Aside: I almost threw my Wii out the window when trying to buy more Wii points. Not only is entering all the credit card info a pain, if you make a mistake you have to start completely over! Who said Nintendo was user friendly?

Now that the Internet Channel is installed, I go to the main menu and open it up. Next choose a WWW site and enter That's all there is to it. My computer was discovered automatically and I was in the PlayOn menu.

Hulu is was the primary driver behind my interest, so I setup an account (free) and put some shows in the queue (Psych, Warehouse 13). On my computer, I opened up the PlayOn settings and gave it the Hulu account username and password. I walked upstairs to the Wii, navigated to (make it a favorite) and it had my Hulu queue ready to watch.

It worked very nicely. In my case, the Wii is about as far away from the router as I can get, so it did have some choppiness. I plan on moving it to a closer TV soon though.

DLNA, the protocol used for device discovery, seems to be getting popular. TV's, DVD players and DVR's all seem to be jumping on board. Cell phones are even starting to support it (Nokia N95)

The software is cheap at $40. So if you want to watch Hulu, Youtube, netflix Instant anywhere you have one of these devices you should check it out.


I've been using TVersity to stream videos from my PC to my 360 for over a year now. It just works really well and it's free. I haven't even updated it since I installed it for the first time and still works great.

I haven't heard of PlayOn before, but I will check it out later at home.

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