PlayOn Home User Guide.
This guide will walk you through all PlayOn Home features. If you have any additional questions about how to use PlayOn, feel free to email our support team at email@example.com.
This guide will walk you through all of the PlayOn Home features. If you have any additional questions regarding how to use PlayOn Home, feel free to contact our support team at firstname.lastname@example.org
We offer free support 7 days a week.
What Is PlayOn Home?
PlayOn Home is a streaming hub for your PC which organizes all of your favorite online streaming sites and all of your personal media into one convenient location on your PC. It helps you discover new streaming content & manage your own videos and streaming favorites; it functions as a media server and online DVR all wrapped into one easy-to-use console.
PlayOn is simple to install and easy to use.
- Download and install PlayOn Home on your Windows PC
- Launch PlayOn Home
Once you've launched PlayOn Home, you can see all of the channels included in the DVR. You can start recording some content right way. If you want all of the PlayOn Home features, you'll need to get a PlayOn Home plan. Before you jump in, we recommend taking a few moments to configure your settings.
- Start by configuring Channel settings
- To stream your personal video, photo and music files jump to Media Library
You can also browse the PlayOn Home Settings section for a detailed explanation of each configurable setting.
If you're ready to go and want to learn more about PlayOn features, jump to one of the following sections:
Ways to watch
You can watch PlayOn videos on your PC, at your TV or on a phone or tablet. How you watch depends on your specific device and your own preference.
Using PlayOn, you can:
- Watch recordings right on your PC in the PlayOn Home App (just hit the > Play button)
- Cast recordings or your personal videos to your TV from the PlayOn Home app
- Download recordings to your phone or tablet
- Auto-record new episodes as soon as they are released
- Record during scheduled (off-peak) times to conserve peak bandwidth
- Watch on your PC, TV or mobile device without the ads and with or without Closed Captioning.
Navigation – Getting around
When you first launch PlayOn on your PC, you’ll notice a dashboard on the left-hand side and navigation tabs along the top.
The dashboard on the left allows you to quickly jump between the various sections of PlayOn. You’ll be able to read and delete notifications, manage your show Subscriptions, navigate your personal Media Library and view and manage your Recordings.
Use the navigation tabs along the top to jump to navigate to Channels and record your favorite streaming movies and shows.
PlayOn Home comes loaded with channels which provide access to a huge library of on-demand videos from a variety of networks and streaming providers.
Just click on the Channels tab at the top of the PlayOn Home app. You’ll see the list of available channels in the main panel.
Some channels require you have a login to access some or all of their videos. You may already have these logins if you subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Peacock, Max, etc, or have a cable provider subscription. To get the best PlayOn Home experience, you should enter your channel credentials for any channels by clicking on the Edit Channel Settings link in the upper right of the channel listings. From here you can enter your credentials, select the default order in which your channels appear by clicking Sort in the bottom right, or remove any channels from PlayOn Home by unchecking them. For more details on managing channels, go to Channels. Always hit Apply in the bottom right when you make changes.
Finding a Show or Movie
Just choose a channel and drill down to a specific video. When you click on a video, you’ll be presented with the option to record. Clicking Record will, of course, record the selected video. Once a recording is complete it will land in the Recordings section of the Dashboard in a folder named for the show if a TV show or the Channel if a movie.
Managing the Channels Tab
Above the channel tiles, you will see an option to select the Sorting order. This can be alphabetical or default. Default is initially set by channel popularity, but you can change it by clicking on the ↑↓ icon on the right and then selecting a channel and using the arrow keys in the window to move it to your desired position. You can also change the sizes of the channel tiles by selecting one of the size boxes in the right of the control bar above the channel tiles.
PlayOn Home will remember your settings and the next time you open PlayOn Home it will be as you left it.
Initiating a Cast
To initiate a cast, simply navigate to a show/movie/clip you want to watch in your Recordings folders. Click on the video you want to cast. From here, you can select the Cast button. If you have a casting device (Roku, Chromecast, or Xbox) on the same network as your PC, it will appear in the Cast to a Device window. Please see the devices page to see the list of PlayOn-supported casting devices.
The cast controller will appear at the bottom of your PlayOn Home app and will allow you to control your cast’s volume, gives you the Pause and Skip Ahead/Back features, and a navigation bar to scroll through the video. If it is a live stream (from the Channels tab or Featured tab), you will not be able to scroll ahead in the stream. For recordings, you can scroll to any point in the video.
You can close and open the cast controller by clicking on the cast controller icon in the bottom right of the PlayOn Dashboard.
Once you find something you want to record, you can click on the record button. When a recording is started, it’s added to the recording queue. You’ll notice a red dot with a spinning circle in the upper right to indicate a recording is underway.
Clicking on that dot will open the recording queue. The active recording is at the top with any queued recordings listed below.
Recordings are made one at a time in the order added to the queue. The order of recordings in the queue can be changed easily. Just left click and hold on the recording you’d like to move and drag into the desired recording position.
You can pause recording activity by clicking on the Pause Queue button at the bottom of your recording queue. This will not interrupt any recordings in process, but will prevent any new recordings from starting. To continue recording the items in your queue, simply press the Resume Queue button. You can remove all recordings from the recording queue by clicking on Clear Queue.
Active and queued recordings can be cancelled by clicking the x next to that recording.
Recordings are MP4 files that can be viewed when no internet access is available or moved to various devices to be watched at any time.
Once a recording is complete it will be placed in a folder named for the show or, if a movie, the Channel name in the PlayOn dashboard under Recordings.
From the Recordings section of the dashboard, you can
- Browse recordings and watch on your PC (and skip the ads automatically if you choose)
- Cast recordings to your TV (and skip the ads automatically if you choose)
- Delete recordings
- Create recording folders
- Drag & Drop recordings between folders
- Send recordings to your iTunes library to sync with iOS devices
Right-clicking on a recording or a recordings folder will bring up a context menu with options.
You can also stream recordings to your device-connected TV (and skip the ads if you choose) by navigating to the PlayOn Recordings folder on your device. You can find more information on this in the devices section below.
Setting up Media Library
Setting up the Media Library in the PlayOn dashboard will allow you to browse your personal video, photo and music files. You can click on Media Library in the Dashboard and the click on the Media Library Settings button to get started. You will need to “point” PlayOn to where you store your personal media on your PC.
Adding your media to the PlayOn Media Library will allow you to easily access it from the PlayOn Dashboard and cast it to your TV.
Using Media Library
Once it is set up, you can click on Media Library in the dashboard and access all of your local media. Any media files contained in any of the folders you added in the Media Library tab of PlayOn Settings will be listed here.
Media files fall into three categories:
- Videos – You can watch or cast videos from the PlayOn dashboard or stream them to your device from the device’s remote control within the PlayOn channel.
- Music – You can listen to your music files on your PC from the PlayOn dashboard. To listen to music at your playback device, connect to the PlayOn server directly from that playback device.
- Pictures – You can view pictures on your PC from the PlayOn dashbaord. To view pictures at your TV connect to the PlayOn server directly from your playback device.
Creating & Managing Subscriptions and Scheduling
PlayOn Home allows you to subscribe to your favorite shows – this means that PlayOn Home will automatically record new episodes as soon as they become available.
To create a subscription, simply browse to one of your favorites shows. Once you have browsed to where the actual episodes are listed (Full Episodes, for example), the Subscribe button will appear in the top section above the video listings (next to the Record All button). Click on the Subscribe button to create a subscription for that show. Give the subscription a name or use the default name and that’s it!
Any subscriptions you’ve added will be listed under the Subscriptions section in the dash.
Each subscription will list the folder recordings are saved to, the folder (channel) the show is recorded from, the number of episodes that have been recorded, and the date of the last recording.
Subscriptions can be removed at any time by clicking on the X. Unsubscribing will not result in recordings being deleted…it will only stop future recordings.
You can click on the green or red dot the left of your subscription to check the validity of that subscription. If the dot is red, there is something wrong with the subscription. Clicking on the red dot will give you instructions on how to fix it. If the dot is green – there is no action to take, but clicking it will make PlayOn check to see if there are any new recordings.
Another option to support binge watching is to hit the Record All button that appears once you have browsed to where the actual episodes are listed (Full Episodes, for example). This will add all of the episodes that appear in the listing into your recording queue. You can drag and drop them to rearrange the order in which they appear.
Our scheduling feature allows you to set a specific time of day for your recordings to occur. So, for example, you can tell PlayOn Home to make recordings at a time of day when your PC is otherwise not in use. Scheduling is also useful for those with data caps -- use this feature to record during off-peak hours when unlimited (free) data is available.
Configuring scheduling is super easy. Simply click on the moon symbol at the top of the recording queue. Check the box for 'Use Off-Peak...' and then set your preferred time for recordings to occur. Just click the Save button to save your changes. If you'd like to take it a step further and schedule a specific time and day of the week, you can do so by clicking on the Advanced Settings link. In the Advanced Settings window, just untick specific hours for each day for which you don't want recordings to be made. Boxes that are left green will define what days and times it's okay for recordings to be made.
AdSkip is an awesome feature that makes it possible to stream recordings ad-free.
To use the AdSkip feature, simply record a video. When you cast that recording to an AdSkip-compatible device (Roku, Chromecast, Xbox) or watch on your PlayOn PC, you'll be presented with an option to enable AdSkip.
Once you've chosen to enable AdSkip, PlayOn will automatically skip over all of the ads for you.
Clicking on the ? in the bottom of the PlayOn Home dashboard will get you the help you need. From here, you will be given options for self-help (Quick Start Guide or full User Guide) or the option to Contact Support. You can also get help from our FAQs.
Quick Start Guide
Clicking on the Quick Start Guide will guide you through getting your Channel Credentials entered and setting up whatever device you plan to use to stream videos to your TV.
You’re reading it now.
This will open up a window that will guide you through submitting a support ticket to our crack team of support specialists. They will analyze your logs and issue and get back to you with their recommendations.
PlayOn Home allows you to cast recordings to your TV from a variety of devices. Just turn on your streaming device or game console and make sure it's connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your PlayOn Home PC.
Cast PlayOn Home recordings from the PlayOn PC to your Chromecast with the click of a button. Just mouse over your recording in the PlayOn Home app and click the icon to cast to your Chromecast. You’ll be able to enable AdSkip when you cast.
You can easily watch PlayOn Home recordings on your Fire TV using the casting feature. To cast from PlayOn Home, select a PlayOn Home recording and click the icon to bring up a list of available casting devices. Select your Fire TV device and click on the Cast button to send the video to your TV. You can also cast PlayOn recordings with AdSkip.
If you already have the MyMedia channel installed on your Roku – you're all set to stream your local media to your Roku. If you are a PlayOn Home subscriber, you'll need to get the PlayOn channel on your Roku — just search for PlayOn in the Roku Channel store to add it. Or you can add the PlayOn Channel from your PC. Once the PlayOn channel is installed, you can start casting to your Roku from PlayOn Home on your PC or browse shows and movies on the Roku. You can also add videos to the recording queue directly from Roku and watch recordings with AdSkip.
PlayOn Home Settings
To open PlayOn Settings, just click on the 'gear' icon in the lower left-hand corner of PlayOn.
Here you can get technical support, check the server status, manage parental controls, change the video performance setting, and change other useful settings.
1. Getting Help – the Support button
If you have any problems or questions PlayOn’s support team is available to help you. PlayOn offers free support for all users 7 days a week. Just click on the support button to submit a support request
2. Video Performance
Changing Maximum Video Quality will affect how hard the PC’s processor will have to work when transcoding a video. The default—and recommended—setting is Auto. When set to Auto, PlayOn will choose the best setting for your PC based on PlayOn’s CPU test under the System Check tab.
If you notice videos stuttering and/or excessive buffering when streaming to your TV, then the problem may be high CPU usage. Try lowering the setting to reduce CPU usage. You can also do this if you just need to reduce CPU usage to make it easier to use the PC while streaming or recording a video.
Allow resumable playback – When this option is enabled PlayOn will continue to process videos in the background until the end is reached, even if you’ve stopped or paused the video for an extended period of time. This feature can be useful for allowing a buffer to build to then be able to fast forward.
Enable HD – When this box is checked, PlayOn will stream and record in HD when a source video is available in HD. If this option is greyed out, then your CPU has been determined to be too slow to handle HD. If you wish to try anyway, you can override by changing Video Performance to Max from Auto.
Modify Advanced options – Clicking on the Advanced button will open a new window. The Advanced Settings window.
- Hardware Acceleration – If you have a supported GPU, you may be able to enable hardware acceleration. In most cases, this will reduce CPU usage while videos are being streamed or recorded.
- Encoding Profile – This setting should only be changed if you're having trouble playing recordings at a specific device. For example, the Kindle Fire HD will only play recordings encoded with the Maine profile, rather than Baseline.
3. Video Recording
Clicking the Set... button next to Recording storage location will allow you to configure where you'd like to store recordings. Just navigate to the folder where you'd like to store your recordings and click Select Folder
Automatically sync all recordings with iTunes – Checking the box for this option will tell PlayOn to automatically add new recordings to your iTunes library. Checking this box will not impact any recordings that have already been made.
Convert old PLV recordings – Clicking on the Convert button will allow those with legacy keys who made recordings in PLV format to convert those recordings to the more universal mp4 format. Recordings that are converted to mp4 will then be playable on any device.
4. PlayOn Media Server
Current Running Status – This indicates, as it stated, the current running status of the PlayOn server. If the server is running, you can stop it by clicking on the Stop button and then start it again by clicking on the Start button
Automatically run PlayOn when PC starts – Checking this box will result in PlayOn starting automcatically when your PC starts, either after being powered down or following a reboot.
Prevent system standby when PC is idle – Putting your PC to sleep is a good way to save power. However, it will prevent your devices from connecting to PlayOn until the PC is awake again. If you don’t want to change the PC’s power settings and you do want the PC to stay awake for PlayOn, you can enable this option to have PlayOn block the PC from sleeping. The PC will still go to sleep if you command it to do so, but PlayOn will block the PC from entering sleep mode automatically while the server is running.
Parental Controls – Certain websites, like Hulu.com and Netflix.com, offer content ratings. If you enable parental controls, you can control which videos can be played through PlayOn. Not all websites offer content ratings, though, so you may wish to enable the Block unrated content option to block TV shows and films that do not have ratings.
System Check Tab
1. System Tests
PlayOn will check your PC’s processor performance, network connection, available storage space (on the C:\ drive), and RAM. If everything meets PlayOn’s minimum system requirements, you will see green boxes.
The Network Test checks your PC’s broadband download speed. A minimum of 1.5-2 Mbps is required by most websites for their videos. Anything less and you may see the videos stopping often to build a video buffer. A download speed of 3 Mbps is recommended.
Note that if you plan to stream more than one video at a time, you’ll need double or triple the download speed to support the additional one or two videos. There is no limit to the number of videos you can stream from one PlayOn server, but you are limited by the capabilities of your PC, home network, and internet connection.
PC Processor Performance test helps determine which video performance setting should be used for your PC.
Disk Space and Memory test displays the available disk space on the C:\ drive. You should try to keep a minimum of 5GBs free for PlayOn to use. The space is used only temporarily while streaming a video, but if you run out of space on the drive, the video will stop. Keeping 5GBs available will ensure you always have enough room for a couple of movies or a few TV episodes.
2. Optional PlayOn Software Updates
You can manually check for new updates to PlayOn by clicking the Check Now button. If the Notify automatically checkbox is enabled, then the PlayOn installation will regularly check for new updates available, and inform you with a balloon notification from the system tray.
1. Configuring Accounts
Some channels like Netflix, Amazon Video, or HBO Max require you to have an account in order to watch. Other channels like YouTube and CBS have accounts that make viewing more convenient or expand the available content. Just enter your username and password and then click on the Test button to verify.
Some websites use special accounts that are provided by your ISP or cable TV provider. These accounts typically require you to select your provider from a list. Websites and video services like Showtime Anytime and others may require you to login this way to access their videos or additional content.
PlayOn supports these login procedures, but the process is different than signing-in with a Hulu or Netflix account. Find the streaming provider in the Channels tab in PlayOn Settings and click the Login button. In the window that opens, click the Login button. A small browser window will open. In that browser window, log in with your account and make sure you can play a video. Once you are able to play a video, close the browser window and check the box that is marked Yes, I can view...and then click OK.
2. Sorting channels
You can easily sort your list of channels by clicking the Sort button. To move a channel, select the channel you want to move and then click the up or down arrow buttons. The change will take effect the next time you restart the PlayOn server.
3. Disabling channels
To disable a channel so it no longer shows up in your channel list, either in the PlayOn Home app or at connected device, just uncheck the box next to the channel. Click Apply and the changes will take effect the next time PlayOn is restarted.
Media Library Tab
You can use PlayOn Home to watch videos, view pictures and listen to music from your own personal media library. This is where you set things up.
1. Adding your files to the PlayOn Media Library
Start by clicking the Add button to add folders to PlayOn’s Media Library ‘watch’ list. When you click on the Add button a file explorer window will open—Just navigate to a folder you wish to add to your PlayOn Media Library and click on the Select Folder button. Keep in mind, that you’re adding folders not files. In the file explorer window, it’s normal to not see any files listed.
After you’ve added folders to the PlayOn Media Library and clicked Apply, PlayOn will index those folders and look for video, photo, and music files to share with all of your devices.
Checking the box for Include iTunes Playlists, will include your iTunes playlists when browsing music in PlayOn.
2. Transcode Speed
If you check the box for Transcode as quickly as possible, PlayOn will transcode (convert) files quickly, but at the expense of CPU usage. The entire video will be available to you more quickly at the playback device, which means you’ll be able to fast forward through the video, and CPU resources will be used for a shorter period of time. The trade-off is high CPU usage while the video is being converted.
3. Video Format Conversion
Adding file formats to this box tells PlayOn to skip transcoding for those files. That means CPU resources won’t be used to convert those files and you’ll be able to fast forward without issue. In order for this to be possible, those file formats must be natively playable at your playback device. It’s generally safe to add mp4 to this list as it is a universal file format natively playable at most devices.