I have been hearing about the promise of TV 2.0 for quite a while now but the problem is that the big solutions require big companies with big capital investment and strong partnerships. There is a small company out there with a simple, innovative and cheap solution to let you view your media on your TV and for the first time I have been able to stretch on my sofa and watch Hulu videos on my big ass plasma TV.
Having emerged from Beta in April 2009, Playon is a quick installation on your PC and it seamlessly streams video from Netflix, Hulu, CBS, YouTube, CNN and ESPN through your media capable device to your TV. The software supports XBOX, Playstation 3 and HP MediaSmart TV. They plan on providing support for Nintendo Wii and other devices that support UPnP/DLNA - an alliance of over 250 companies seeking to create products that are compatible with each other to create a seamless entertainment environment that lets us customers view our media the way we want it. Some devices that support UPnP/DLNA include: DirecTV HD DVRs, D-LINK DSM-510/520/750, Pioneer Elite Pro-1140 HD TV, Popcorn Hour A-100, SageTV HD Theater, VuNow HD POD and more.
I installed Playon on my PC and turned on my XBOX. The instructions were very easy to follow: just go to the XBOX menu -> my XBOX -> Video Library and presto there was a new entry on the menus for Playon!
Hulu videos come up in full HD quality and playing youtube videos is easy. The naviagtion around the different services is similar to a file browser which is OK if you are a techie but there is no search feature or convenient browsing so if you go to Hulu -> Movies then you have to choose from a list of 30 folders titled: 0,1,3,30,A,B,C,D, etc. for the first letter/character of the title you want to view.
The "most popular"," viewed most this week/month/all times" are easy to navigate and if you want to view specific Youtube content you will need to add the username of the Youtube content owner to your PC software. Its easy to do (just open the playon control panel and add the list of usernames in that window) but I can imagine many novice users not realising this can be done or being frustrated from having to manually add a user to the list but schlepping their but out of the sofa in order to manually type in a Youtube username.
This is a simple and innovative product that finally let me use my internet media the way I want it and doesn't force me to sit at my desktop to view content. Kudos to the guys at MediaMall Technologies for coming up with a great product!
Company site: http://www.themediamall.com/playon