Apr. 21, 2015

Download vs. Record

We're always interested in understand what it is that people think we do at PlayOn. PlayLater is a particularly interesting phenomenon. The common term for getting a file onto your computer from the internet is DOWNLOAD. You download software, photos, movies, etc. People use the term download as how you get pretty much any file on your PC.
Did you download the latest Game of Thrones? Have you downloaded any episodes of Boardwalk Empire yet? Did you know you can download Netflix movies? Did you know you can download Hulu shows and movies - including Hulu Plus? Well...you can't technically. But you can get those videos onto your PC in mp4 (that's the standard video file) format. PlayLater lets you record them (think DVR) - it plays them in an invisible window and creats a copy of them during the recording. What results is what seems like a downloaded Netflix movie.
The thing is - people think of recording for cable broadcast shows - beacause the DVR and VCR before it have trained us to. DVR stands for Digital Video Recorder. And, while technically, PlayLater is a Digital Video Recorder, since it sits on your PC and lets you get video files to your PC - we think of it as a download beacuse we have been trained by the PC industry that you download things to your PC.
All of this comes up beacuse we were recently looking at Search Optimization -- not only what were the people that found PlayOn searching for, but what are people searching for that SHOULD have found PlayOn. Download X [where X = Netflix, Hulu, Amazon VOD, HBO Go, HBO Now, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, etc.] turns out to be what folks are searching for when what they should find is PlayLater!
So we are faced with the conundrum - do we buy these keywords? Do we introduce the "technically incorrect" but very logical word DOWNLOAD into our website so that we show up organically when people search for them? What do YOU think?
Also - fyi - if you are looking to "download" Game of Thrones - we have just launched PlayLater support for HBO Now - and at a special price - check it out: http://www.playon.tv/store/offers/hbonow/


Apr. 15, 2015

With PlayOn & PlayLater You Can Watch HBO Now Where and When You Want.

As you probably know HBO released their long-anticipated HBO Now service last week. You likely also know that HBO is only the making the service available on Apple devices or a PC. Roku, Chromecast, and gaming console customers need to wait 3 months to see HBO Now on those devices...or do they?
With PlayOn you can stream HBO Now to your Roku, Chromecast, or gaming console today. You’ll still need an Apple/iOS device to set up an account, but once you’ve done that and get PlayOn, you’re all set.
Add PlayLater and you can also record HBO Now and take your fave shows with you. Game of Thrones marathon on a cross-country flight anyone? Girls episodes on the bus or subway?  You can do it all.
Check out our limited-time HBO Now special pricing offer to get started.


Nov. 5, 2014

Discontinuing Support for Windows XP - Sorry!

As of February 1st 2015 PlayOn and PlayLater will no longer support Windows XP. This is the result of Microsoft having abandoned support for the operating system in the latest version of their Internet Explorer browser. Even if you don’t use Internet Explorer, PlayOn always utilizes it behind the scenes. IE is included as an integrated part of Windows installations, and PlayOn relies on it for interacting with the various supported channels. Since Microsoft no longer develops and maintains IE for the XP platform, some supported channels in PlayOn are already beginning to fail for customers on the Windows XP operating system. We expect more channels will begin to fail over time. Your PlayOn/PlayLater account will still be valid according to your license or purchase terms, and, after February 1st it may continue to work with Windows XP, but it will not be officially supported by us with that operating system. PlayOn will continue to be supported on Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista.
Note: We expect that MyMedia and many 3rd-party plugins will continue to work with Windows XP as they use different underlying processes to serve video.
It is worth noting that Microsoft ended support for Windows XP on April 8th, 2014: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/end-support-help


Oct. 24, 2014

Stream those screams....2014 edition

We've come up with some great Halloween recommendations for you this year!  
The video we get asked about the most this time of year is undoubtedly 'It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown'...and for good reason.  It's a classic that reminds many of us of our own childhoods.  This year it's available to stream free via Hulu...but it's web only and not available at TV's and mobile devices using the Hulu Plus app.
But don't fret - we've got your hook up - You can stream 'It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown' to any device using PlayOn's Hulu or ABC channel.  Or, better yet, record it before it expires and watch on your own schedule without worrying about when it expires.  And, since it airs on one of the broadcast networks, it works with AdSkipper so you can record and watch ad free.
We've found some other great Halloween specials the entire family can enjoy.  Check out this Halloween episode of The Muppet Show from 1978 with Alice Cooper as the guest host, or this one from 1977 with Vincent Price.
Add to YouTube favorites to watch later at any device via PlayOn or cast/record directly from your browser with the PlayOn browser extension
For some straight up silliness,  you can never go wrong with the Annoying Orange: Halloween Fruitacular!
Or, Add this playlist to your YouTube account for some cool Halloween TV specials 
How about something for the grown ups?  
Watch the revolutionary horror movie that launched a career and influenced a generation of filmmakers.  It's The Evil Dead, available free to stream or record from the Hulu channel - one of my personal faves.
Watch Supernatural from TheCW for some legit chills and thrills.  Record each episode as they're made available and don't worry about when they expire online (new episodes are available free using TheCW channel without any pesky 7 day delay).  If you want to catch up with prior seasons, you can find all nine on the Netflix channel.
Or, for the very best in campy horror movies...The Creepy Flicks plugin, available at the PlayOn Plugin Channel Store has some awesome cringe-worthy horror movies. There's even a live stream available (which you can record in 5 hour blocks using PlayLater)
And last, but certainly not least, as you know we've been diggin' on Pluto.TV for a while now.  It's an innovative (and free) online streaming service that pulls together the best in online streaming video.  Be sure to check out Pluto.tv's live, continuously streaming Halloween channel (channel 400 in the "Entertainment" folder).  
Set up a free Pluto.tv account, and add videos to 'My Pluto' to easily access later at your TV or mobile device using PlayOn. Or...record using PlayLater and watch whenever you like.


Oct. 17, 2014

Announcing AdSkipper. Giving you back your 22 days.

On average, a one-hour primetime show has 18 minutes of advertisements. 18 minutes. The average American watches 34 hours of TV a week. That is 612 minutes of advertisements a week. Multiply that by a full year of TV watching and that equals around 31,824 minutes, or 22 days, of advertisements.

We want to give you your 22 days back.

Starting today, if you are a PlayOn/PlayLater bundle user, you have a really cool new feature to play around with called AdSkipper. AdSkipper gives you the ability to instantly skip the commercials on any stream recorded from ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC. Simply record the show on your PC via PlayLater, then stream through PlayOn onto your Roku, Chromecast or mobile device. When you play, AdSkipper gives you the option to instantly skip all commercials in the recorded program.

How this feature came about is a pretty cool story. In 2013, the Ninth Circuit court of appeals ruled skipping commercials is not a form of copyright infringement in the case of FOX v. Dish, making it legal for any video recorder to give its users the ability to skip commercials. Since the ruling, we are the first media streaming software to bring ad skipping to its users.

As most of you know, we’ve been at this for a long time. PlayOn was one of the earliest products in the market in 2003. For the past 11 years, we have been adapting and innovating in an industry with a continually evolving legal landscape, bringing you the most up-to-date features that new technologies can legally offer. AdSkipper brings us one-step closer to fulfilling this mission of revolutionizing TV to be user-centric and on-demand.

We hope you enjoy this new feature and do something extra special with your newfound 22 days.


Oct. 3, 2014

Get 'Em Before They're Gone!

As many of you may have heard - or perhaps sadly noticed when trying to watch after 9/30 - the critically acclaimed Battlestar Galactica expired on Netflix a few days ago...no longer available to stream with a Netflix subscription.   While it's available to purchase at Amazon VOD, it's also no longer available to stream with an Amazon Prime subscripton.
If you have PlayLater and heard the news, then you were among the lucky folks who were able to record unwatched episodes before that 9/30 expiration date.
That got us thinking...wouldn't it be cool if there was a tool out there that would let you know when a show or movie might be expiring...not just on Netflix, but other services.
In our exploration, we happened to stumble over this cool site:
You can filter by a variety of services...and even quickly find those shows and movies that are scheduled to expire on Hulu!  Take a gander at these links for shows and movies scheduled to expire soon on Hulu
Hulu TV Shows Expiring Soon
Hulu Movies Expiring Soon
And for those of you outside the US – you can even filter Netflix results for each category by region (did we mention that we support Netflix in 16 countries now?!!!?)
So, fire up those recording queues, and get 'em before they're gone!


Sep. 26, 2014

MLB Classics makes its way to the PlayOn Plugin Channel Store

A subscription to MLB.tv may seem a bit pricy to many folks, particularly since it's subject to local blackouts....However, they are currently running a special - sign up for the balance of the regular season for only 3.99 (yup - 3.99!).  Though the season is drawing to a close, it's still a great deal to check out the service.
Sign up for MLB.tv 2014
We've also spent some time digging around and stumbled over a treasure trove of classic MLB videos.

  • History making games
  • League Championship games
  • No Hitters and Perfect game
  • Even World Series broadcasts going back 60 years

The best part is...it's all available completely free!   Download the MLB Classics plugin from the PlayOn Plugin Channel Store today and relive all of those great baseball memories. 


Aug. 29, 2014

Who's your favorite Muppet?

When folks consider streaming as an alternative to cable, the discussion most often revolves around what they'll miss...what are they able to watch with cable that they might not be able to watch without?  For today's post, I'm going turn that around...what can one watch streaming, that isn't available via cable?
The answer:  a crap ton
My family ditched cable nearly 6 years ago...It took some getting used to at first, but after a while we came to realize just how much we could stream, that we would've never found flipping through channels on our cable box.  As a cable subscriber, choices were made for us...and we naturally gravitated toward the 'new' shows. 
Here at Channel Master headquarters, we dig on The Muppets.  We recently rented and watched the latest Muppet movie (Muppets Most Wanted, available via Amazon VOD).  After watching, my wife and I couldn't keep the nostalgia at bay and found ourselves wanting to watch some classic Muppet Show episodes with the kiddos. 
For those of you with cable, try searching for The Muppet Show.  To make it easy, you can use these links for the Time Warner and Comcast/Xfinity programming guide:
Time Warner Program Guide
Comcast Program Guide
Find anything?  No?  Neither did I. :)
Now paste the following into the address bar of your browser:
Disco!  Virtually every full episode of  The Muppet Show available to stream. 
You can use that url as a template and replace 'muppet' and 'show' with anything you might be looking for – just insert a '+' between each word.  For example, looking for The Great Space Coaster?
Just use this:
After you've found the shows you're looking for, you can use the PlayOn browser extension to mark, cast or record. 
You can even create custom channels by clicking on the 'Edit' button in the PlayOn browser window and then creating a new folder with a custom name.  Then add episodes of the same show to that specific folder (by clicking on that edit button when marking each video).  Now, when browsing the PlayMark channel at your TV, rather than just seeing a YouTube folder loaded with videos, you can browse folders specific to each show. 
Enjoy...and happy streaming!
Mine's Sgt. Floyd Pepper, by the way ;)


Aug. 21, 2014

We Need Your Vote: SXSW 2015

Normally we reserve our blog space to tell you about the latest PlayOn and PlayLater updates, our favorite online plugins and channels and new tips and tricks that make it easier to cut the cable cord. Today, we’re turning the tables and asking an unusual request from you, our readers and brand advocates.

We love TV streaming and one of our key goals here at PlayOn is to improve online streaming, make it easier for TV and movie lovers to access all the great content that is available online on their TV, phones and tablets, whenever and wherever. We’ve worked hard to develop PlayOn, PlayLater and MyMedia to help accomplish this and continue to evolve our products to meet your needs.

We also work hard to spread this message among influencers and TV streaming enthusiasts that can help us change the way we think about TV, how we pay for it and how we watch it. This is where you come in.

We have submitted two panels to the 2015 SXSW Interactive conference, a huge show that takes place in Austin Texas that focuses on talks and presentations around emerging technology. Both of our panels will address issues around cutting the cord and online streaming and how we can solve them. Rather than having a panel of SXSW judges decide who is most qualified to be on the panel agenda, they turn it over to their audience to make the decision and cast their vote.  Whether you’re attending or not,  the public gets to vote on the speakers and topics they would most like to see represented at SXSW, and we would love for you all to vote for our panels.

Creating an account to vote is easy: head on over to SXSW Panel Picker, fill in some basic info and you’re free to cast your vote. (See our panel voting links below). Voting will go through September 5th. If you have a question for any of our panelists or would like to hear more about a certain topic, please leave us a comment. Even if you don’t plan on attending SXSW Interactive, we will share our thoughts on each of the panels here on the blog so you can join in the conversation.

Thanks for your help with this! We’ll keep you updated on the selection process and will let you know if you can find us at SXSW 2015!

Vote here:

Cable Cutting Enthusiasts Meet Up: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/38035
Deja Vu: TV and Music Industry Parallels: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/39163




Aug. 14, 2014

The New MyMedia for Roku: Now with Casting

MyMedia Logo

We love Roku here at PlayOn and we know a lot of you do too. This is why we are especially excited about today’s announcement.

Starting today, our new and improved MyMedia channel is available in the Roku Channel store

Many of you know MyMedia as our free software application that lets you stream your personal media files (music, home videos and photos, etc.) to your TV via the Roku. With today’s update MyMedia users now have two new options:

  • Stream in HD! That’s right. Have a movie saved to your hard drive that is high definition? MyMedia now lets you stream that file in HD on your TV.
  • Cast to your TV. We are really excited about this one. The new MyMedia channel offers a $4.99 in-channel upgrade that will give you Chromecast-like functionality, making it possible to cast web videos directly from your PC to your TV. Want to get the latest episode of Under the Dome on your TV? Cast it through MyMedia and your Roku. See a video on Funny or Die and want to share it with your family? MyMedia’s webcasting upgrade can help with that.

You can download MyMedia in the Roku Channel store here. The MyMedia web casting capability can be purchased directly through the channel. Just click on the banner at the bottom of the MyMedia screen on the Roku and you’re on your way to casting. We’d love for you to give it a try and let us know what you think.

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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 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.
What is PlayLater?
PlayLater is software that you install on your Windows PC that lets you record movies and shows from over 60+ of your favorite streaming sites like Hulu, Netflix, Comedy Central and more. You can watch your recordings whenever you want on your PC or on your iPhone, iPad, Android phone, or other mobile device, even when you are offline.
» Learn more about recording with PlayLater
How does PlayOn 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