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PlayOn media server software gets a release date

Posted at 24 January 2009 20:55 CET by Jared Newman

PlayOn, the downloadable software that sends Internet video to any Xbox 360 or Playstation 3, will exit the beta phase and go to retail on February 1, the head developer of MediaMall Technologies told CDFreaks.

Jeff Lawrence, the company’s president and CEO, also explained two issues that could amount to a deal-breaker for users with slower wireless Internet.

But first, a bit about the software: PlayOn essentially acts as the middleman between a PC and the two aforementioned consoles or an HP MediaSmart TV, with support on the way for Nintendo’s Wii. After activating the program, a folder appears in the console’s media library, containing videos from popular Internet sources like Hulu, Netflix and YouTube.

Unfortunately, not everyone will be able to take advantage of the service. One of PlayOn’s less-publicized recommendations is wired, powerline or wireless N Internet. Without them, users could see stream-killing error messages.

It’s also impossible for any user to fast forward through a video stream before the desired portion has been downloaded and transcoded. This is analagous to DVR, Lawrence said, with which users can’t jump to a point that hasn’t been recorded yet.

That answer isn’t totally satisfying; after all, jumping around an Internet video on the computer simply requires a momentary wait for buffering. The company says it’s working on a solution, but calls it "technically very challenging."

Not being able to fast forward isn’t so tragic for users with fast connections. Presumably, they’ll have no problem watching a video from start to finish anyway. But if the video crashes for slower connections, restarting the video and picking up from the last point is crucial. Lawrence says this is possible, but only if the PC remains connected to the Internet and no other video streams are started in the meantime.

I personally haven’t had any luck resuming lost connections on my Xbox 360 at all, which is a shame because PlayOn is a really enticing program. For network connections that can stomach it, PlayOn is definitely worth the flat $30 (or $40, after the beta period ends). Before making a commitment, though, it’s best to try the beta.

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There are 12 comments

CD Freaks Member
Posted on: 24 Jan 09 22:11
    I am actually using this software now, and it works great with Hulu. I am having one problem though, I am unable to watch Movies on Hulu through my Xbox. TV Shows work fine. Whenever I try to watch a movie, it gives me an error message. I was wondering if anyone else is having the same issue.
    If the movies would stream correctly, I would buy this software, but it kinda is a deal breaker if I can't watch all the content that should be available to me.
    No longer with us
    Posted on: 25 Jan 09 20:48
      I had the same problem when I first installed Playon. The TV programs worked fine, but the movies gaged and I got an error message. All I had to do is reboot my PC and everything has been working perfect. I dont know if this will help, but give it a try.
      New on Forum
      Posted on: 27 Jan 09 19:03
        I just installed Playon last night.The 360 found it,but had some trouble with the connetion.Still working on setting it up (Bob is a mite old and slow). Still it's worth trying out
        No longer with us
        Posted on: 27 Jan 09 19:26
          This software doesn't work on the 360 for crap. Both hulu & netflix are very, VERY choppy until thier connection dies.

          It's not worth the $ yet. They have ALOT of bugs to work out. I've been testing it since before they went public. And there is still alot left to fix. Don't let them fool you. There is many quarks to this software.
          No longer with us
          Posted on: 28 Jan 09 17:34
            I can't speak for the XBOX people but on my PS3 I have very few problems and I am using a Wireless G (not N as recommend) connection. I've been using since the very early trial versions, and it has improved a lot, but sure there is alwyas room to improve. Maybe the problem is you are not using a PS3. Totally worth the $30 i paid.
            No longer with us
            Posted on: 28 Jan 09 19:00
              When I first installed it, it didn't work, but a reboot solved that. I'm streaming to a DSM-750, and everything works great - other than the fastforwarding and rewinding. The video quality is excellent - nothing choppy. It's as if I'm watching a live TV broadcast or a DVD in my DVD player. I have regular DSL from AT&T (1.5 MBPS download flavor), so I'm not using anything particularly fast. I do, however, have a mix of wireless N and wired connections. My laptop, which I'm currently using for PlayOn is connected to my router wirelessly - using an 802.11n only connection and with 40MHz only enabled. I have a wireless bridge connected the same way. The bridge is then connected via Ethernet to my DSM-750 extender, though this probably isn't necessary as the DSM-750 does wireless N as well.
              No longer with us
              Posted on: 28 Jan 09 22:22
                I have been using PlayOn as a beta tester from early in its inception. And yeah there have been a few problems , although I'm lucky cause the PS3 will pick right back up where it left off if you exit and select the same video again. When there were problems the best this was to send the support information over to them, they worked fast to resolve issues and were very pleasant to work with. Kudos to The Media Mall for finally hitting a release date.
                No longer with us
                Posted on: 29 Jan 09 22:28
                  I have been using this progam for a while now and have had no deal breaking issues at all. Infact I love this program. Every so often it will get choppy but that is never a permanent issue. I am using it over a g network. Now maybe it is the system that determines your problems because I too have a ps3 where as most of the problems seem to come from the 360 users. As of right now playon's feature to stream content from you computer is disabled but once that feature is enabled it will be my one source media server until then I will have to keep tversity on my comp.
                  No longer with us
                  Posted on: 31 Jan 09 12:59
                    I'm using a xbox 360 witch wireless adaper is g and my wireless router is a buffalo draft n. The tv shows and hulo videos come in perfect on my 42" panasonic hdtv. I rebooted my pc after installing playon and also restarted my 360. I'm runnnig xp media edition on my custom pc I built. I only have the demo version now and I will buy this program. The only problem I see is that some of the network shows only show clips and not the full show.
                    No longer with us
                    Posted on: 02 Feb 09 18:07
                      I notice the discussions for the XBOX. Just in case anyone is wondering, I have been beta testing with my PS3 and just purchased the license today. I found that it is a little choppy at the beginning streaming netflix if I use the PS3 wireless (I have a HP "XP media center" laptop with a wireless g card attached to a Netgear dualband N router. The PS3 of course also has a wireless g.
                      If I hard plug the laptop and PS3 into my router, I can use the Max video option with no delay. I should mention that I have an average download speed of 7.6 Mbps with roadrunner.
                      My best guess is if you have the "speed" it is a good buy; if not, it may not be as great a deal.
                      MyCE Member
                      Posted on: 03 Feb 09 16:19
                        I just installed PlayOn.

                        Test box IBM TP R51 100mps to a CISCO WRT310N Streaming Wireless N to an HP Media Connect x280N.

                        HULU, Netflix and YouTube work straight out of the box.


                        Easy set up
                        Great slection of content from HULU and Netfilx


                        Picture quality 6/10 (This is as a result of the content )
                        No 5.1
                        Forget about browsing (Netflix you have to add to instant Queue)
                        Does not share local libary

                        Al in all a good piece of software for watching low quailty content in 2 channel sound.
                        No longer with us
                        Posted on: 12 Apr 09 02:45
                          I really liked this software for awhile, but it has become a pain. It stops working many times for no apparent reason, there are still issues with Netflix that have not been resolved even after a million beta versions. Whoever they have hired to do the programming work is an overpaid idiot.

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