I found this to be rather interesting, PlayOn if offering a free software update to its Premium subscribers that will work on the iPhone and iPod touch via Safari. That means video from places like Hulu, Netflix, Comedy Central and more can be had on them.It seems like a perfect situation for the content providers themselves, let someone else do all the heavy lifting and reach a wider audience.
MediaMall Technologies, Inc, owners of PlayOn which is already compatible with Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3, among various other DLNA/UPnP-compliant devices and apps, announced the update today. Streaming video sources will include Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, Comedy Central, Amazon VOD, CBS, ESPN, MLB.tv and others.
That's big news for all involved. If you're a PlayOn Premium subscribers you can download the update and begin streaming videos to your iPhone and iPod touch right away (after some hoops you have to jump through below).
If you don't have an account you can try the service free for 14 days. Then if you want to signup it's $39.99 for the first year and $19.99 for each year thereafter. Basic customers will also need to upgrade to get the software.
To try PlayOn free for 14 days, visit: http://www.PlayOn.tv
For more information about how to access PlayOn using your iPhone and iPod touch, visit: http://www.playon.tv/mobile/iphone
The thing of it is that you need the software up and running on your home PC.
So who would want to watch streaming video on their iPhone when they're at home and have at least two other screens that are bigger to watch it on? Well luckily once you connect to the PC once, it becomes your main server and then you can travel and view video from other wi-fi or 3G hot spots. The software needs a PC, not a Mac and doesn't give you a choice of where to install it, defaulting and automatically installing itself to your C:/ drive which I find bogus.
To get it to work you have to configure any routers you have and of course, your ISP local office could just block you from doing any such thing. Also, both the PC and the iPhone have to be on the same router for the initial connection.
It's certainly a cool idea, but there are far too many technical hurdles to jump over in order to get the video streaming. I wasn't able to as I don't have direct access to my shared wireless router. It could be that your router doesn't support what it needs in order to function, you don't have access to the router or you can't make the necessary changes. Plus any upstream router at your ISP could also block it from working and any Wi-Fi hotspot could disallow access to the streaming ports. This isn't going to speed screen convergence anytime soon because of the requirements and the range of potential problems one might encounter. It could be a great solution to get your downloaded video over to your game consoles or Wi-Fi connected TV at home if you're running your own router. Of course there are other options that are freely available to do that.
Also, in order to get that paid content from particular sites you will of course have to pay them and have an active account. So you'll pay for the video, pay or the software and everything else and then, you still might not be able to get it streaming properly depending on your network setup.
Well, it's a step in the right direction and it does bring your online video to other devices, though on the PS3 and Xbox 360 you could just use NetFlix itself or the browser on the PS3. Personally, I would look at other, free options for doing this prior to running out and buying it. However, with a 14-day free trial it might be worth a go.