Mar. 17, 2010
Thursday is the kick off of March Madness and the offices of PlayOn have got the basketball bug. So in an attempt to watch our favorite teams (oh yeah and make all of your wildest dreams come true) we have pulled a few all nighters and think that Thursday morning we will have a functional March Madness channel for FREE! We are not 100% sure, but let's say we are confident enough to announce this channel and take the chance of public embarrassment. Make sure you have downloaded the free trial of PlayOn and get ready for some March Madness!ShareThis
Mar. 14, 2010
St Patrick’s Day is less than a week away! If getting sloshed on a Wednesday night is not an option…..then we are here to spread the Irish love. Here are some ideas that won’t have you stumbling into work on Thursday still smelling like Guinness.
Netflix Recommendations – After a very scientific office poll, we present to you our favorite Irish movies:
Waking Ned Devine – Set in a small Irish town, Ned has won the lottery and everyone wants a piece of his money. After the town’s people find he has died they enter a pact to scam the officials and split Ned’s winnings.
Boondock Saints – Two Irish brothers living in Boston believe that it is God’s calling for them to rid the city of evil. Throughout the movie they go on a massive killing spree with local mafia as their victims. A public outcry is never heard; instead they are viewed as heroes.
Angela’s Ashes – Based on a best selling autobiography, Angela’s Ashes shows the hardships of a young boy and his family living in the Irish slums.
Hulu Recommendations – (clips found under Food Network Originals)
A Perfect Pint of Guinness – Apparently there are 6 steps to pouring a perfect Guinness. And to think how many of us have been pouring imperfect stouts this whole time….it’s a shame.
Stout- Soaked Beef – ymmmm
Mar. 11, 2010
2010 seems to have awakened something within the American consumer. People are setting budgets, cutting luxuries and actively seeking cost efficient ways to live. Hordes of people are cutting the cable cord and streaming. Here are some of the awesome things said about PlayOn. Click through on any of the media titles to see the full article.
Writes about PlayOn and cable-free advocates. A stay at home mom says, “We're kind of pioneers. The easy thing to do is to have cable, so you've got to do things a little bit differently and be a little bit tech-savvy.” According to Leichtman Research Group, the cost of watching television is going up: The average household cable bill in the United States hit $64 a month in 2009, up from $47.50 in 2004.
Writes about PlayOn taking on cable TV industry with its internet video service. The article highlights a PlayOn survey resulting in “38 percent of its customers eliminated their cable or satellite service after they started using PlayOn, saving $1,400 per year on average, according to the survey.”
Feb. 22, 2010
If you love PlayOn, and you are a C# programmer - we may have the perfect job for you! We are currently looking for a project designer/coder to help make PlayOn even better.
Skills: C#/ .NET, Interop/p-invoke/COM (Win32 APIs)
Experience: Building robust fully-featured commerical applications; experience with Media Applications
General: Rock Star!
If interested, please contact email@example.com.
Feb. 5, 2010
Many members of the PlayOn community have been asking about PlayOn's relationship with content providers, most notably Hulu. This long discussed topic has recently gained more interest due to Congressional hearings last week looking into the Comcast acquisition of NBC Universal (NBCU). During those hearings, Representative Rick Boucher (D-VA) asked NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker, "Did Hulu block the Boxee users from access to the Hulu programs"?
Mr. Zucker's response (below) was interesting for a number of reasons, which we at PlayOn feel warrant additional clarification and comment.
"This was a decision made by the Hulu management to, uh, what Boxee was doing was illegally taking the content that was on Hulu without any business deal. And, you know, all, all the, we have several distributors, actually many distributors of the Hulu content that we have legal distribution deals with so we don’t preclude distribution deals. What we preclude are those who illegally take that content.", said Zucker.
First of all, Mr. Zucker's initial inclination to point the finger at Hulu all but directly contradicts Hulu's own public statement in which their CEO, Jason Kilar, said that, "Our content providers requested that we turn off access to our content via the Boxee product, and we are respecting their wishes." At the time Hulu's statement was issued (February, 2009), NBCU was one of only two content providers who owned a significant stake in Hulu (the other being News Corp). It seems highly unlikely that the "content providers" Mr. Kilar was referring to did not include NBCU, given the significant influence NBCU is capable of exerting on Hulu as a material equity stakeholder.
Mr. Zucker's seemingly disingenuous finger-pointing at Hulu serves to underscore the awkward position NBCU finds itself in when trying to encourage Internet distribution of its content through Hulu to the PC screen (which reduces the frequency of Internet piracy), while simultaneously trying to prevent the same Internet distribution to the TV screen (which increases cannibalization of broadcast viewership). It is no secret that the economics of an “over-the-air” viewing are currently more attractive to NBCU than an "over-the-net" viewing. Admittedly, balancing these competing objectives must be a difficult exercise for NBCU. However, it would seem more productive to try to work with players like PlayOn (and Boxee) in order to improve the economics of an episode on the TV screen, instead of pursuing the short-sighted tactic of attempting to block such technologies. As one small example, Hulu could implement a model where more ads were inserted into commercial breaks when viewed on the TV screen, and technologies like PlayOn (and Boxee) could participate in such a program by identifying themselves to Hulu's system as a "TV Browser" (to facilitate this). We at PlayOn would be more than happy to collaborate with Hulu on such an approach (and have expressed this willingness to both them and NBCU in the past). I believe Boxee would be eager to do so as well.
The second point of Mr. Zucker's response which bears scrutiny is his statement that, "what Boxee was doing was illegally taking the content." To understand this point, it is first necessary to understand what Boxee and PlayOn are, and what they do functionally. As many PlayOn fans have been well aware of for quite some time, PlayOn is, fundamentally, a Web browser. It is PC software which communicates with and downloads/renders content from remote Web/content servers in order to fulfill browsing requests made by a user. It uses standard Web protocols for this communication, just as popular browsers like Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome do. In fact, PlayOn is actually a customized version of the Internet Explorer engine (the current version of Boxee uses the Firefox browsing engine in a similar way). This makes technologies like PlayOn and Boxee very different (legally) from the "distributors" (aka: "websites") that Mr. Zucker refers to in his statement. PlayOn is a browsing technology. It is not a distribution platform or a video website. Neither Mozilla nor Google (nor Microsoft or other browser makers) have distribution deals with Hulu. It is misleading of Mr. Zucker to suggest that other browser makers are obligated to have distribution deals in order to enable browsing to Hulu (simply because they display content on the TV screen instead of the PC screen). Boxee's own response to the hearing makes a similar clarification.
On a more speculative note, it is important to point out that the original Boxee implementation was quite different than the current one and, at the time Hulu initially blocked Boxee, there was a much stronger legal case that Hulu could have made against Boxee than it can currently. Specifically, Boxee had setup a process by which it ran a "bot" that collected all of the Hulu metadata and then housed it on Boxee’s own server as its own feeds which were redistributed to Boxee users upon request by the Boxee software. This process was somewhat similar to the way Google (and other search engine) "bots" collect data from websites in order to include them in search results. However, there is an accepted standard (The "Robot Exclusion Standard") for website owners to "disallow" such bots collecting data from sections of their sites. Hulu had implemented such exclusions of their feeds (http://www.hulu.com/robots.txt), and Boxee's implementation at that time was violating this exclusion. I believe this gave Hulu both a technical and legal justification (and means) of blocking Boxee at that time. That has clearly changed, as Boxee has since implemented a true Browser model (as PlayOn has had from the beginning). But I suspect this initial case of probable illegality is what gives Mr. Zucker the ability to state (in the past tense) that "what Boxee was doing was illegal", even if it is no longer true. Mr. Kilar's references to Boxee took on a similar historical tone when he was recently quoted as saying, "Boxee had no right to do what it was doing."
All told, this increased scrutiny at the Congressional level will likely cause NBCU/Hulu to engage in more acceptable business practices. The importance of getting the NBCU acquisition approved is far greater than what is at stake in the battles between Hulu and companies like PlayOn and Boxee. Let's hope it ushers in a new era where we can all collaborate to make Internet viewing on the TV both enjoyable to consumers and profitable to content owners.
- Jeff Lawrence, PlayOn CEOShareThis
Dec. 8, 2009
OK - if you are a PlayOn junkie, and you know all about supporting software. If you enjoy digging through logs to figure out what is going on. If you are resourceful, reliable and friendly and like to work online and over chat and email...and you write well. We need to hear from you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's figure out if we have your dream job!ShareThis
Nov. 13, 2009
Thank you! Without you, our loyal PlayOn users, receiving Popular Science’s 2009 “Best of What’s New” Award for being one of the “100 Best Innovations of the Year” would not have been possible. Your excitement about PlayOn, suggestions and support motivate us to continue making your PlayOn experience even better. This award is a great example of what a significant impact you have on the success of our PlayOn community.
We listen to all of your suggestions. You have inspired new PlayOn features were working on, such as great improvements to My Media before we bring it out of beta. My Media enables you to watch personal media (i.e. photos, music and videos) from your computer on your TV. Try it out if you haven’t already and let us know what you think.
We’d also love to hear your stories about your favorite content you watch with PlayOn and stories about how your friends react when you show them the cool things you can do with PlayOn. Write on our Facebook fan page wall and exchange ideas with your PlayOn community. You can also follow us on Twitter.
Thanks for using PlayOn and sharing the cool things you can do with PlayOn with your friends.ShareThis
Aug. 23, 2009
We are excited to announce that PlayOn officially supports the Nintendo Wii -- in Beta. That means the almost 25 million Wii owners can watch Hulu, Netflix, CBS, CNN, ESPN, Amazon VOD, YouTube, AdultSwim, Crackle and much more on their TV, from their couch, using their Wii Remote. Here is what it looks like:
This is the first device where we have control over the User Interface, and we have tried to make it as intuitive, user friendly and pretty as possible. You be the judge.
PlayOn for the Wii is available for a free, full-featured 14-day trial, and after that licenses are available for a one-time fee of $39.99. That same license (and the same software download) will support your PS3, Xbox 360 and other DLNA devices.
How it works: PlayOn uses the "Internet Channel" on the Wii - so if you don't have this, you will need to get it. After downloading and installing PlayOn on your PC, you then open the "Internet Channel" web browser on your Wii, press the "WWW" button and enter playon.tv as the web address. You should add this page to your Wii Browser "Favorites" to make it easy to access in the future.
That's it! You can click on Hulu and find your favorite shows, or Netflix and watch that movie you have talking about seeing - right from your couch and Wiimote.
Wii support has been one of the most requested features from our users, and we are thrilled to offer this Beta release to folks who would like to give it a whirl.
PlayOn supports the broadest selection of Internet-to-TV premium content, including Hulu, Netflix, XBS, ESPN, CNN, Amazon VOD, and YouTube. And the selection of niche content is growing daily via the open PlayOn Plugin architecture, which currently includes:
- Cartoon Network
- Food Network
- Local Files
- Southpark Studios
- Spike TV
- Podcasts (OPML Player) -- with dozens of available feeds!
- International channels: Danish DR and Spanish TVE
PlayOn works on a broad range of devices including PLAYSTATION 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Moxi HD DVR, VuNow, and many other DLNA-compliant devices.
We hope you enjoy the Wii Beta and encourage you to send us feedback at email@example.com.ShareThis
Aug. 13, 2009
Aug. 7, 2009
Based on our quick survey of PlayOn users, 37.5% are replacing cable/satellite with PlayOn while 62.5% of us are supplementing our current programming with Internet video through PlayOn. To me, that says OTT (Over-the-Top), or taking Internet Video to the TV, is growing the overall TV-consumption pie. That is good news for the cable companies. This 37.5% actually compares to a predicted 30% by TDG (since we were only surveying OTT-users, we had to elimiate the segment from TDG that said they would not consume OTT). Pretty close on! Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey!ShareThis