Google TV is a platform designed to make it easy to find internet video from a variety of sources and stream it to your TV. But as I discovered when I tested the Asus CUBE with Google TV recently, there are many online video sites (including Hulu) which don’t offer apps for the platform.

Enter PlayOn. The folks behind PlayOn have long offered a way to stream content to Netflix, Hulu, and other sites to devices that might not otherwise support it. Now there’s a free PlayOn app available for Google TV.

PlayOn for Google TV

There is a catch. PlayOn doesn’t stream video directly from the internet to your Google TV box. Instead you have to install a client app on your PC. When you want to stream video from Hulu or another site you launch the PlayOn app on your Google TV device, it connects to your PC over a home networks, tells it to grab the video from the internet and the convert and stream it to your Google TV box.

In other words, if you shut off your PC, you won’t be able to watch video from Hulu or other sites on your Google TV device.

Still, there’s no reason not to give the app a try. PlayOn normally charges $25/year for its software or $50 for a lifetime license. But for a limited time the software is free for Google TV users.

The PlayOn software lets you access content from Hulu, Amazom, Netflix, HBO, MTV, ESPN, CBS, ABC, PBS and many other sites. You’ll still need a subscription if you want to watch premium content from Hulu Plus, HBO, or other sources.

There are standalone Google TV apps for some of those channels. But I can see the appeal of a single app which lets you browse through channels from a single user interface. One o the things that bugs me about Google TV right now is that each content provider uses a different layout, so navigating your video collection in Amazon is quite different from finding videos in Google Play Movies or Netflix.

PlayOn also lets you stream content to Android or iOS devices, video game consoles including the Wii and Wii U, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, and other TV boxes including Roku devices.

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6 replies on “PlayOn comes to Google TV, brings Hulu, ABC, ESPN video along for the ride”

  1. Great article Brad. For those who live outside US like me, you can access Hulu and similar media stations on your Google TV by using UnoTelly or similar tools.

  2. I have PlayOn on my PS3 you really can get full videos & some live streaming Network (ABC, Fox, NBC and many others) We have used it to cancel cable & satellite providers. We don’t have that great of internet (Clear). I really think it would work better with true high speed internet. We do have it paired with both Netflix & Hulu Plus. (Here’s a secret when something is web only on Hulu we can watch it on the TV through PlayON.)

  3. I’ve been using Playon for about a year and have nothing but positive things to say about them. Their service is the reason I no longer pay a TV bill while still being able to watch everything I watched before….including HBO series. Best part is there support though. Whenever I had to send in a support ticket I always received response within an 30 mins which is pretty awesome considering Microsoft, Dell, and every other billion dollar company your lucky IF you get a response in their forum. Playon is hands down awesome!

  4. The PC server application took over my computer and set Playon’s virtual speakers to the default speakers for the device. As a result, my computer could only play audio again after I uninstalled the program and rebooted the computer. Of course, it took me almost an hour to discover that this was why my computer would no longer play any audio. Not worth the hassle.

  5. “PlayOn normally charges $25/year for its software or $50 for a lifetime license. But for a limited time the software is free for Google TV users.”

    Something tells me it is “free” for the thirty day trial that is normal for PlayOn and after that they want their money. Not that it isn’t reasonable to want money but I purchased their lifetime subscription a month before they came up with premium and now I am slowly losing functionality and would need to pay for another lifetime subscription. Frankly not compelling enough to fork over another $40 to $50 . They are less than honorable when it comes to this lifetime business so buyer beware. I have Playon on my PC and I can’t get to any of the “Premium” content with the free Google TV app even though I was “grandfathered” into a number of the premium channels.

    Nothing new here, nothing to see, move along.

  6. Probably best to look for a free trial or something first. Lots of these sorts of things claim they offer something like NBC, but when you try it you find you only get clips and not whole programs – sometimes only from yesterday and earlier. SyFy has a Roku “channel” that is useless too, mostly short clips with a rare full program offered for a limited time.
    Buyer beware. Maybe get a friend to take the plunge first then go over and help him give it a workout before you buy in.
    But the viability of cable-cutting improves every day for those willing to spend effort to stay on top of the rapidly mutating landscape.

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