Dec. 29, 2011

Season of the Roku.

Is it just me or does it seem like everyone got a Roku for Christmas this year? I hope it’s not just me, I hope that the mainstream is really beginning to adopt streaming entertainment. It’s about high time they did. PlayOn has been around in earnest for about 3 years now and things have changed. It used to take an entire cup of coffee (or cocktail if the occasion called for it) to explain to my friends and family just what PlayOn was. Now it takes less time than it does for them to add sugar. People understand the terminology and the concept now, they get streaming. I think that’s a good sign.
 
Then my aunt in rural Virginia got a Roku, now I know that streaming has arrived. It’s one thing to be able to talk to my relatively tech savvy friends about PlayOn and streaming and DLNA, it’s another thing altogether when my aunt who still by her own admission doesn’t “get” the Internet is streaming Netflix to her TV. I’ve never felt more convinced that major changes are afoot in the way we consume media. As someone who works for a company that is right in the streaming technology mix I couldn’t be more excited. You should be excited too, the growth of streaming entertainment will present you with more choices than you’ve ever had before and it’ll do it for less money.
 
My aunt got a Roku just for Netflix, but I have friends that got Roku’s too. Why? Because they wanted an easy way to stream more content into their homes. Whether it’s Netflix, music, shows, or something else, Roku gives them an easy relatively cheap way for them to do it. Some of them intend to fully cut their cable and save around $100/month. Others are using Roku to supplement their cable options with a host of on-demand titles and some cool music sites. Some of them still don’t even know how they’re going to use it, but they know they will.
 
So why am I telling you this? Easy, PlayOn is the best investment you can make in making your Roku be all it can be. For only a few bucks a month you can bring live news, Hulu (no Hulu+ subscription required), Comedy Central (The Daily Show anyone?), PBS, CNN, Spike, and much more to your Roku. It’s super easy to do, it’s free to try out, and it adds more content to your Roku than you can imagine. We also want you to know that we’re working hard on making PlayOn work even better with Roku. So whether you’re a cord cutter, a cord never, or just someone with a cool new Roku you’re not sure how you’ll use, PlayOn is the best plugin channel you can add to get the most of your new Roku. It’s easy to get started. http://www.playon.tv/devices/roku
 
Enjoy.

 

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Dec. 20, 2011

Taking PlayOn to the Next Level, Introducing the PlayOn Channel Store

Earlier this year, we launched the PlayDirect API to give developers the power to create their own PlayOn channels. Developers began adding channels in a frenzy, with top-tier content such as the Food Network, Disney Channel Live, Lifetime, TVLand, and a myriad of new channels to enjoy. When we launched the API, we promised “phase two” was coming – and now its time.

PlayOn users can now access the new channels created by our developers with the launch of the PlayOn Channel Store. The store gives consumers the first way to create a free, fully-customized channel lineup, unique to their own tastes. The PlayOn Channel store makes it easier than ever for PlayOn and PlayLater customers to find and install additional channels. Meanwhile, developers using the PlayDirect API are also enabled to reach a much wider audience.

While PlayOn already boasts over 25 channels including Netflix, Hulu, MTV, TBS, Pandora, YouTube, Comedy Central, CBS, ESPN, ESPN3, [adult swim], Spike, Nick, BET, Amazon, and PBS – users can now access The WB, TVLand, WSJ, and Bravo! Soon, users will be able to access nearly anything available online, only limited by how quickly developers can make new channels available.
 

For more information on new PlayOn Channel Store visit our website at channels.playon.tv

If you’re interested in adding a channel to PlayOn, you can get access to the API, and start adding channels to the store at the PlayOn Plugin Channels Developer Hub
 

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Nov. 15, 2011

HOW TO: Record an episode of The Daily Show to watch on your holiday vacation or road trip

Streaming media is great, until you try to watch the latest blockbuster in a plane, train or automobile! PlayLater is here to ensure you have something to watch on your trek over the river and through the woods (to Grandmothers house) this holiday season. It’s super easy and free for the first 14 days. Let’s take a look!

NOTE You’ll need to install the latest version of PlayLater to your PC. Then it’s just three simple steps:

STEP ONE: Open PlayLater and click on the channel you want. We want to catch last night’s “Daily Show with John Stewart”, so we’ll click on Comedy Central.

PlayLater Screenshot

STEP TWO: Select the episode you want to record. Check the Air Date to find the latest (you can also browse or search for the episode you want). Click the Record Now button and leave your PC on for the next 30 min.

Viola! Your selection will be waiting for you under “My Recordings” so you can “PlayLater” with no Internet access required.
 

STEP THREE: Click play. Watch your prize and pat yourself on the back for being prepared!

Well, this will make your holiday travels a bit more enjoyable. Why not load up the hard drive with your favorite clips, TV shows, and movies? You’ll need something to do during your layover in Chicago.

TIP: Be sure to record a couple of things for the kids while you are at it, they get bored so easily : )

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 to record it now, and PlayLater. What will you record next?
 

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Oct. 31, 2011

The DVR Effect: What is driving the increase in time-shifted content?

Long gone are the days when we’d gather around our television sets for the latest batch of “must see TV.” These days, we can just catch up on our favorite programs whenever we want since we can simply time shift them. Audiences have decided that they can’t be bothered with the networks’ schedule. We want to watch what we want, when we want. Period.

Time shifting is experiencing exponential growth, but it threatens broadcasters’ and media companies’ status quo. They are desperately trying to maintain control over their primetime, the advertising tied to primetime, and the content itself. Time shifting threatens their way of doing business. However, it seems the more the cable companies and content providers try to fight time shifting, the more consumers demand it. And why wouldn’t they? Most of the content we want is available online, on demand. We can find what we need, when we need it. To the modern consumer, access is more important than ownership.

One of the problems is that time-shifted or DVRed content isn’t included in the metrics. The more you measure it, the more you see that time-shifted views of broadcast content represent a larger and larger percentage of the total views of that content. And it is growing – this year consumers have viewed 25% more DVRed content than last year.
 
However, if consumers don’t want to watch by the broadcast schedule, when do they want to watch? A recent New York Times article explains that viewers are catching up on their time-shifted content on Fridays, already a traditionally weak ratings night. The article states:

“Friday is a big DVR viewing night,” said David F. Poltrack, CBS head of research. “by Friday, people have built up an inventory of shows they recorded earlier in the week.”

We know why viewers want to time shift, and we know that the cable and content companies are fighting to maintain the status quo. Maybe the big companies should reconsider their stance. Time shifting offers access to audiences who you cannot reach during primetime, and enables an existing audience to watch more often. Research studies have also shown that online viewers are more likely to watch commercials and are more engaged with the advertisement than broadcast viewers are.

Perhaps once the methods of measurement catch up to reality – and count the people who are time-shifting content (Nielson plans to start measuring DVR viewership in some major metros in 2012), advertisers will become more aware of how numerous, valuable and engaged these viewers are. Then broadcasters will be able to leverage (financially) and therefore embrace (technically) the new behaviors and expanded audiences. It really doesn’t matter how hard the media companies try to hold on to the broadcast model, though. Time shifting is here to stay, and soon enough our children will laugh at the inconvenient concept of “broadcast.”

 

 

 

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Sep. 14, 2011

PlayLater is Out of Beta and Ready for the Masses

Two months and more than 10,000 testers later, PlayLater is ready. Today we are making PlayLater, the DVR for online video, available for everyone. Simply go to the PlayLater website and click on the link http://www.playlater.tv to start your free two week trial!

PlayLater lets you record videos from almost any website and watch them later, even if you’re offline. It’s perfect for catching up on your favorite TV shows, movies and streaming events when you’re travelling, commuting or camping.

We recently finished our closed beta program and had thousands of people test the service. There was a great response from our community of early adopters and we want to thank everyone who helped us “kick the tires” so to speak. PlayLater users had a ton of awesome feedback. One of the requests we heard most often was the ability to use PlayLater with our other streaming video service, PlayOn. Now, when you use both products together, you can easily record your content on your PC and take it with you on your tablet, phone or mobile device.

We love online video. Everyday, more and more people are cutting the cable as everyone’s favorite shows make it to the Internet - from live sports and special events to popular movies and TV shows. And now, with PlayLater, it’s easier than ever to enjoy online video -- you never have to worry about missing a show because its content window closed, or your airplane doesn’t have wifi. Just find your content, record, and PlayLater.

You can purchase PlayLater at www.playlater.tv for only $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year. You can also bundle both of our services in the PlayTogether package – that gives you both PlayLater and PlayOn for $7.99 per month or $69.99 per year.

So check out PlayLater. If you have more questions, check out our FAQ or feel free to drop us a note www.playlater.tv/support

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Aug. 4, 2011

PlayOn and PlayLater - The Peanut Butter and Chocolate of Online Video Together At Last!

 A few weeks ago we kicked off the beta for PlayLater, the DVR for online video. The response to the beta has been amazing, and after sifting through feedback from thousands of users we are addressing the number one beta request: enabling our two services, PlayOn and PlayLater to work together.

Now, with both services, our beta users can watch their PlayLater recorded content on almost any device. If you’re a PlayLater beta tester, you will get one month of PlayLater free after we release the Gold version. If you are also a PlayOn customer, you can add PlayLater for a mere $2.99/month or $29.99/year.

And one more thing, we are ready to let even more people in. Not only will everyone on the waitlist for the beta get in, but also anyone currently in the beta will get 5 invite codes to give to their friends and family. 

If you aren’t a beta user yet, signup for the waitlist now at www.playlater.tv and you’ll get in when we let the next wave of users in. If you are new to PlayOn, you can check it out for free. Once you have downloaded PlayLater, you will automatically have PlayOn installed on your PC and can use it for free for 14 days. Just fire up your Xbox, PlayStation 360, Wii, Roku, Google TV or download the PlayOn app for your iPhone, Andriod Phone, iPad, or Andriod Tablet and you’ll see all the great PlayOn content you can watch – including your PlayLater recordings. You can go here to find the setup instructions for your device: http://www.playon.tv/supported-devices (no need to Download and install PlayOn if you have already installed PlayLater!)

We are excited to give folks even more freedom to watch their content when and where it’s convenient for them.

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Jul. 14, 2011

Time to Invite Our PlayOn Users Into the PlayLater Beta

We recently announced the private beta for our new product, PlayLater, a DVR for online content, and let in 5,000 folks to kick the tires, and help us find the last of the bugs. Now it’s time to let our loyal PlayOn Premium users in to check it out, and start recording their favorite online videos.

As part of the beta, existing PlayOn users will receive a full one-month free trial. After the one-month free trial ends, PlayOn Premium users who were part of the Beta will get a special introductory rate for PlayLater of $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year.

We are excited to invite our current Premium customers to try PlayLater and we’ll continue to invite the rest of our PlayOn users throughout the coming weeks, so stay tuned! 

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Jun. 29, 2011

Introducing PlayLater, the DVR for online video. You can record and watch your favorite shows anytime, anywhere, even offline

Today, we are kicking off the closed beta for PlayLater, the world’s first DVR for online video. PlayLater is a revolutionary new technology that lets you record your favorite TV shows, movies, and sports events from nearly any website and watch them later, even offline.

If you travel or commute and don’t always have an Internet connection, PlayLater is the perfect way to keep up with your favorite flix and shows. We don’t care if you’re on a plane, train or automobile*, you can watch any shows you recorded with PlayLater.

PlayLater brings the functionality and convenience of your standard DVR to online videos. Tell PlayLater which shows you want to record, and just like your home DVR, PlayLater will record it and let you watch when it’s convenient for you. You can queue up a bunch of shows or movies to record, so you never run out of new content to watch.

Record Any Channel Available With PlayOn

PlayLater lets you record almost any video available online, from nearly any website. Queue up the latest Hollywood blockbuster, find your favorite music video from the 80s, or record the pilot episode of Always Sunny in Philadelphia for tomorrow’s train ride into work.

Watch Your Videos On Any Device

Of course you can watch your PlayLater recorded videos anytime you want on your PC, but if your PC is connected to your TV, you can easily watch your recorded content on your Television too. When used with our flagship product, PlayOn, you can watch your recorded content on your iPad, iPhone or other mobile device.

PlayLater works with any Internet connected PC and costs $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year. Beta users will receive a full one-month free trial. To be one of the first 5,000 users in the closed beta and get PlayLater free for a month, download here http://www.playlater.tv

We are passionate about new technology and online video. As more people look online for video content, they will demand more flexibility in their viewing, including a DVR. With PlayLater, we are ready to deliver the ability for people to watch anytime, anywhere.

*Only as a passenger, we highly discourage watching PlayLater while driving!

    

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May. 11, 2011

PlayOn gives up control, gains a bunch of new channels

We have released a new API for PlayOn, PlayDirect API. The PlayDirect API is easier to use and more flexible than its predecessor. The results of this release have already been amazing. Users have already used the new API to bring Food Network, Disney Channel Live, Lifetime, TV Land and over 20 more channels to the PlayOn network for everyone to enjoy

We released the PlayDirect API earlier this week, and developers quickly began creating their own PlayOn channels. With the PlayDirect API, anybody can easily specify the URL of the desired video, and then denote what area of the video to view. We can already see this new, easier to use API is leading to a rapid increase in the number of PlayOn channels for all of our subscribers to enjoy.

This API is the first step in a two-step process for giving our users even more control over their PlayOn content. The second step, coming soon, is opening a “channel store” on our site where customers will be able to add and review third-party channels they want on PlayOn.  

By opening up the PlayOn technology platform to third-party developers, we are able to expand the content available to PlayOn users. Just like Apple’s app store brought new features and functionality to the iPhone, we plan on seeing a host of new channels in PlayOn. Our API lets everyone find something they like with PlayOn.

If you’re interested in adding a channel to PlayOn, you can get access to the PlayDirect API here: http://www.playon.tv/channels/developer-guide

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Nov. 30, 2010

PlayOn Goes to Washington

I recently had the honor of being invited to Washington DC to speak with our Federal Government about all of the changes going on in the broadcast media space. Along with the heads of a few other select Over the Top video technology and content companies, we participated in two sessions, both with Congress and the Executive Offices.

The morning session included an opportunity to present and demo PlayOn to House Staffers. Representatives from members of the House that sit on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Committee on Small Business, and members of the FCC stopped by to see how companies like PlayOn are helping to shape the future of TV. By and large they were very excited about the opportunities that are coming available to consumers and seemed committed to preserving those opportunities.

The afternoon session included a meeting with senior members of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The purpose of the meeting was to establish an ongoing dialog on the opportunities and challenges that technology companies like PlayOn face in a space that is dominated by large broadcast media corporations. Their goal in having this meeting was to make recommendations on how policy can be shaped to create a fair, competitive environment that enables new technologies and innovation to thrive in the Over the Top space.

As I said earlier, I was honored to participate and very encouraged that there is a concerted effort on the part of our government to preserve choices in how you consume media.

The next several years will be a very interesting time for this space. We are happy to have you along for the ride and hope you will continue to support PlayOn.

Best Regards,

Jeff Lawrence
PlayOn CEO

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Top FAQs

What is PlayOn?
PlayOn is software that you install on your Windows PC. It allows you to use your Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Roku, iPhone, Android phone or another supported device to access movies and shows from content providers like Hulu, Netflix, Comedy Central, CBS, YouTube, MLB.tv, your personal media, and many more. PlayOn is both browser and media server software, built into one. It browses content from various online providers, and displays that content directly on your TV, iPhone or Android phone.
How does it work?
PlayOn runs in the background on your PC over your home network. It uses standards called UPnP and DLNA to communicate with networked gaming consoles,TVs, and mobile phones working both as an internet browser to access online media and as a UPnP media server to serve videos to UPnP compliant devices. Learn more
How can I buy PlayOn?
Simply visit our buy page for our current pricing.