Archives For Playstation

PlayOn: Netflix on your PS3?

Dave Zatz —  October 2, 2008

I first came across PlayOn a few weeks ago. The PC-based software streams several Internet video site’s content to DLNA-compatible devices. PlayOn is still in beta, though the promised Netflix Watch Now support has just hit. Like most of the PlayOn experience, it continues to be rough around the edges – which is not unreasonable for pre-release software.

There’s a lot of promise here… Folks would much rather watch long form content from their couch and PlayOn leverages existing hardware platforms, such as the Xbox 360 and PS3 with Wii support on the way. While I am hopeful, thus far my experiences have been mixed. Check out the list of folders below right. That’s how you (try to) navigate Hulu. My Netflix experiment this AM wasn’t so successful either. While I could bring up my playlist (above), no movies would stream. And after a few minutes of futzing, PlayOn decided my Netflix credentials were no longer valid.

If they can tighten up the experience, both interface and reliability, while keeping up with any changes these sites will periodically throw at them, PlayOn will be well worth the $30 software fee. But not yet.

Sony’s out with an interesting PS3 offering today. The Folding@Home download has been updated and rebranded as Life with Playstation. In addition to crunching away on molecular proteins, the add-on now presents current worldwide news (Google) and weather (Weather Channel) accompanied by music (bring your own). But I don’t really want to talk about the new features…

While I’ve played on the PS3 a decent amount, this is the first time I’ve lived with it. And Sony’s launch of Life with Playstation emphasizes the console’s UI issues. Microsoft, known for computer software, has done a much better job implementing the 10′ interface with the Xbox 360 than Sony, known for consumer electronics devices, has with the PS3.

When interacting with the PS3, I frequently feel like a PC is attached to the plasma – too much text, fonts are too small, poor use of screen real estate, too many download and installation screens, crash messaging, etc. I captured maybe only half of the screens below (unreadable from the couch) it took to get this app installed. Shouldn’t it really download and install automatically, perhaps even silently?