PlayOn Brings Hulu to iPhone (Next Week)

I can’t say I’ve been PlayOn’s biggest supporter. In fact, I usually refer to it as a hack. But some hacks are decidedly more clever and useful than others. Their current Windows server software ($40) essentially scrapes web video content, such as Hulu and Netflix, to pipe it to home DLNA devices – so you can catch those standard def Alf episodes from a PS3 and television.

Well, things are about to get more interesting next week when PlayOn releases an iPhone app. The free client channels the same video options, albeit with limited transport controls. Watching “television” in your home on a 3.5″ screen isn’t super compelling. However, CNET reports that you should be able to punch PlayOn content through your home router to access a number of video sources on the go and that higher res iPad streams are in the works. Which are both hacks worthy of discussion.

7 thoughts on “PlayOn Brings Hulu to iPhone (Next Week)”

  1. Fan of Playon but find myself not using it to much. Was one of the original people to pay for the license and they really should of grandfathered the people that bought the license originally. Pretty upset I am going to have to pay a yearly license. I know it’s cheap but with now netflix, hulu and playon the monthly fees some will have to cave. Thinking netflix will be winner for me.

  2. Yeah, I was wondering how they were handling folks who originally bought in. Given their spammy behavior in general, sadly I’m not surprised folks weren’t grandfathered. At some point, perhaps soon, the need for a hack like this will go away.

    Speaking of which, the new Roku Newscaster app is pretty cool. They’re aggregating video (and audio podcasts) from CBS, NBC, Nasa, etc. I’ve been watching Rotten Tomatoes movie reviews from the Current TV channel. WithOUT requiring a PC in the mix.

  3. Hey Guys…

    I’d be surprised if they didn’t grandfather people in. I had downloaded an eval copy once or twice. They emailed me before their annual fee launch and offered me $20 for a lifetime license on Hulu, Netflix, CBS, ESPN,, CNN, Amazon VOD, Pandora, + third party plugins.

    They specifically mentioned things like Colbert Report and Daily Show as beta, and not included in the lifetime license.

    I’ve just received a second offer, that at $40 I’m not sure about, but for a lifetime premium license, to include Comedy Central, ESPN3, PBS, UFC (w/ subscription no doubt), MTV, and a few more.

    It’s funny, I went with the $20 not to free myself from a PC, but rather than stream to my PC. :) I’ve been connecting cheap PCs to all my TVs, and running XBMC on them using the BEAUTIFUL Aeon65 skin. I prefer the interface to Boxee, and for $20 I got Pandora, and Hulu all over the house, which was really all I needed beyond my own media to be happy.

  4. It’s $5 for the first year if you’ve already paid. It’s been well covered on the web.

    I’m not signing up though since I no longer have a ps3 there’s really no need for it. I’m planning to get an ion-based nettop sometime in the fall probably instead.

  5. Hey Dave,

    I appreciate your coverage in general but am wondering why you continue to call Playon a “hack”. Is it because of the way they “scrape” the content?

    As far as the application itself, In my experience this has been one of the earliest succesful 10 ft interfaces that actually worked on DNLA devices and is (using the script Playit) the best and most frequently used application for extenders. It even has limited Pandora for my big screen! I agree that some model will have to be devised to eliminate multiple subscription fees or $10 to Netflix, $10 to Hulu etc, etc will kill consumer appetites for OTT applictions.

  6. A “hack” in a few ways… Yes, a large part of that is requiring a computer intermediary which retransmits the content to a television. Versus a direct-to-the-TV service and versus content partnerships… as PlayOn can break any time these sites make changes. Which we’ve seen happen. It’s not one of my preferred solutions, but I’m not one to discount a service that’s meeting your needs – more power to you!

  7. Not sure. If there wasn’t an annual fee I’d go for it in a second. With the annual fee though, I’m not sure. $40 for the first year, vs. $9.99 per month for Hulu Plus? And Hulu Plus will still work in a year where PlayOn might get blocked? And I don’t need to use my PC as an intermediary?

    Honestly, I’ll probably just keep using my Slingbox/Tivo setup most of the time. Works fine and its free of monthly charges. The Wifi speed in hotels usually doesn’t support anything else…

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