Google’s Chromecast is one of the cheapest devices you can buy that will let you stream internet video to your television. But right now there are only a handful of video sites that work with Chromecast, including Netflix, YouTube, and Google Play Videos.

PlayOn is showing off an upcoming feature that will let you stream video from Hulu, Amazon, HBO Go, and dozens of other sites… although there’s a catch.

PlayOn has been providing software that lets you send internet video to your TV for years, by leveraging a game console like an Xbox, PlayStation, or Wii. Now they’re adding support for Roku and Chromecast devices.

But you’re not streaming the video straight from the internet to your TV. You’re routing it through a PC first. So while you can pull up the PlayOn app on your phone, find a video you want to watch, tap a button and have it appear on your TV thanks to a Chromecast (or other support device), you’ll need to run the PlayOn app on your Windows computer to grab the internet video, transcode it in real-time to a format that works with your Chromecast, and keep your PC running the whole time.

As workarounds go, it’s kind of nifty — because dozens of internet video sites that work on a PC can now work with a Chromecast (or Roku or Google TV device, etc). For example, you can stream Hulu video without paying $8 per month for a Hulu Plus subscription. Since you’re technically using your PC to watch the videos — which is something that Hulu lets you do for free, PlayOn says this falls under fair use.

But it’s also not quite as efficient as streaming directly from the internet to a Chromecast, since you still need a PC. You just don’t need to run an HDMI cable from your PC to your TV.

Right now PlayOn for Chromecast is still in the testing stages. It’s based on the pre-release Google Chrome SDK, which means that PlayOn can’t officially launch support until Google’s tools come out of beta.

Once it’s ready, you’ll be able to PlayOn with a Chromecast for the same price as the company’s existing service — which currently costs $7 per month, or $30 per year, with a lifetime subscription running $60.  The company also offers an app called PlayLater which lets you record internet video for watching later. Prices start at $9 per month for the PlayOn + PlayLater bundle, or $40 per year or $70 for a lifetime fee.

 

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7 replies on “PlayOn demos method for Chromecast streaming Hulu, Amazon, more (video)”

  1. I love playon and have been using it for a couple of years. It streams beautifully with proper Internet bandwidth to our Xbox 360, roku, iPhones and ipad. I have purchased playon for 2 family members and 2 friends as gifts. With script plugins I have access to a world of online content from many nations. I stream to my iPhone and ipad while away from home. The best program ever!

  2. Playon is worthless for playing Hulu or anything for that matter, the shows always freeze half way through the show your trying to watch, & I am using an I5 desktop with 10 times the Playon systems requirements, they wont address your concerns what so ever.
    I have a Wireless USB setup so no wires running to the Google TV that works flawlessly .
    Forget Playon you can buy the wireless set up for what Playon charges

    1. Perhaps they’ve fixed it. PlayOn streams Hulu well for me and, like this commenter, my PC has a Core-i5 processor.

  3. PlayOn playback quality sucks and doesn’t even do 720p hd quality. Hard to go from hd to 480p. If someone has figured out how to get at least 720p let me know.

    1. Since you commented, PlayOn added support for 720p. I’m hoping PlayOn will be available for Chromecast soon. Since PlayOn doesn’t have a queue feature, I want to be able have one video loading on one device, e.g. a Roku, while I watch it on another.

  4. PlayOn has supported Roku for quite some time, certainly since April 2013 if not before because I’ve been using it. You can use your Roku remote or an Android tablet with the PlayOn app to control playback on the Roku (or stream to your tablet). PlayLater just sweetens the goodness.

  5. PlayOn appears to be an expensive replacement for a laptop in your living room with a cable under the floor to the TV’s HDMI input and wireless keyboard/mouse or trackpad. That’s the approach I chose when we purchased our first HDTV, a 39-inch Vizio, several years ago. For more details on my setup, see my “A Diagram of the OakLeaf Systems HDMI Video Component Test System” article at https://android-minipc.azurewebsites.net/index.php/2013/09/a-diagram-of-the-oakleaf-systems-hdmi-video-component-test-system/.

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