PlayOn gets ready to launch a desktop app with ad skipping

Video streaming underdog PlayOn is getting ready to launch a desktop client for Windows in the coming months, which will allow users to play and record web videos from over 100 sources right on their computer. The PlayOn desktop client will also offer an option to skip ads on streams from major TV networks (think of it as a poor man’s Hopper), and users will be able to cast videos to a Chromecast streaming stick or Android TV.

playon Channels

[company]PlayOn[/company] has been around for years, and was initially trying to solve a simple problem: TV networks weren’t making all of their shows available for streaming on Roku boxes and other connected devices. That’s why PlayOn streamed them to a PC first, where videos were transcoded on the fly, and then relayed to the TV screen. The company eventually added video recording as well, essentially turning computers into DVRs for web video.

All of that didn’t go over so well with content providers, which didn’t like that PlayOn was undermining their streaming policies. As a consequence of this tension, Roku was forced to remove PlayOn’s public channel from its devices.

However, PlayOn CEO Jeff Lawrence wasn’t too concerned when I asked him about this during last week’s CES. PlayOn isn’t officially available on Roku anymore, he explained, but the company still has a channel on the platform: MyMedia allows Roku users to play content stored on their PCs, and a one-time in-app purchase adds the capability to play web videos as well.

playon Good Wife Detail

PlayOn’s desktop app promises to relay content to Roku as well and will also support casting to Chromecast. That’s notable because Google hasn’t actually released a Cast SDK for desktop apps — but PlayOn reverse engineered the protocol and made it work anyway.

That likely won’t help PlayOn to get any more popular with networks and device manufacturers, but it could be seen as a wake-up call for publishers that haven’t officially added casting to their media. In the end, users always find a way to play their favorite content on the devices of their choice — whether it’s officially supported or not.

PlayOn Opens Up API, Gets a Bunch of New Channels

PlayOn users will soon get a lot more content options, as the software maker has opened up its API, enabling users to build channels for their own favorite content sources. Already users have developed 20 new channels, including some for Food Network, Lifetime and TV Land.

30% of PlayOn Users Cut the Cord

PlayOn says 30 percent of its customers have canceled their cable subscriptions, with another 10 percent downgrading them. Based on the number of users that have downgraded or done away with cable, the startup estimates that it saves customers $24 million a year on cable bills.

Vid-Biz: Facebook Numbers, PlayOn App, Piracy Fight

Today on the Net: British file sharers will continue to face lawsuits, Facebook.com is now the second most visited online video site, Apple approves the PlayOn video app,Hulu tweks its iOS app, and more.

PlayOn Uses HTML5 to Bring Hulu and Netflix to the iPhone

PlayOn has rolled out a new HTML5-based web app that will allow users to watch movies and TV shows on the iPhone and iPod Touch. By integrating with its desktop software, users will be able to watch previously unavailable web video content like Netflix and Hulu.

Review: Nintendo Wii Gets (Very) Beta Online Video Streaming Service

PlayOn for WiiVideo streaming service PlayOn from Media Mall Technologies recently added support for the Wii, which owners of Nintendo’s phenomenally popular video game console can use to watch Hulu, CNN and other selected channels online. It’s about time: The Wii excels at games, but when it comes to offering great online content, it’s running a distant third to Microsoft’s (s msft) Xbox 360 and Sony’s (s sne) Playstation 3. That in mind, I gave PlayOn for Wii a quick spin today. Instant verdict: Not a bad video streaming alternative for long format videos, but not yet ready for everyday couch surfing.
You first need to install the PlayOn program on a computer running on the the same network your Wii uses for Internet connectivity. (Instructions here; follow those closely before even turning on your Wii or downloading the client, or you may end up with hours of aggravation and confusion, like me.) Once PlayOn’s launched on your PC, just point your Wii’s web browser to “playon.tv,” and you’re in.
PlayOn’s Wii starting screen presents you with the available channels to choose from, including Netflix and Amazon (s amzn), though you need to register your account info in the PC client, to access those services. Video quality is not bad, at least on my console — slightly better than the average YouTube video, but a notch or two below Hulu. PlayOn for Wii seems to stream long format videos well; I was able to watch an extended 60 Minutes segment without any sputtering. Overall, however, it is still very beta. For instance, many of Hulu’s listings don’t even have show/subject titles. (I only found Daily Show episodes after much digging, and got a 404 error for my pains.) YouTube videos don’t seem to come with a rewind or replay button. At the moment, channel navigation and content search is so kludgey and time-consuming, it’s not a very good solution for random viewing.
Final summary for Wii owners? Instead of using the 14-day free trial offer now, I’d wait a month or two (or three) in hopes the folks at Media Mall Technologies can work out the worst kinks, and only then give it a whirl before deciding if you want to plunk $39.99 down for a full license.

Vid-Biz: DTV, Veoh, Super Ads

DTV Delay-related News; according to Nielsen, more than 5.8 million U.S. homes (5.1 percent) are unprepared for the DTV switch (Nielsen Wire); the Consumer Electronics Association warns that the recent push back to the DTV switch could result in a shortage of converter boxes. (Broadcasting & Cable)

Universal Music Group Can’t Sue Veoh’s Investors; judge throws the part of UMG’s complaint that accuses Shelter Capital, Spark Capital and Eisner’s Tornante Company of “vicarious copyright infringement” and “inducement of copyright infringement.” (TechCrunch)

A Breakdown of Super Bowl Ads Online; 4,000 clips of ads from the big game have been uploaded and have received more than 75 million views. (Visible Measures)

SAG Feud Goes to Court; drama over the ousting of the union’s former executive director and chief negotiator continues, judge denies SAG president’s request for a restraining order against the union and the national board. (The New York Times)

PlayOn Releases Beta; software moves Hulu, CNN and other content from Windows PC to TV-connected boxes like Xbox 360, PS3 and other DLNA and UPnP devices. (Zatz Not Funny!)

Jaman Gets Indie Distributor E1’s Titles; deal will expand movie rental company’s library with roughly 3,000 feature films, documentaries and TV shows. (The Hollywood Reporter)

Blinkx Changes Up its Homepage; new buttons such as “Entertain Me” and “Inform Me” deliver automated entertainment and news streams. (Contentinople)