PlayOn is an app that lets you stream audio and video from internet sites including Hulu, Netflix, and Comedy Central to devices that wouldn’t normally support them such as an Xbox 360 or a Nintendo Wii. PlayOn works by having you install a server application on your Windows computer which basically grabs the internet video and then streams it in a supported format to the appropriate device. Last year PlayOn released an app that works with the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. And this week the company launched an Android app.
Now you can download and install the free server on a PC and then use the PlayOn Mobile app to watch web video on your Android phone or tablet, stream music from Pandora, or stream audio and video content your PC to your mobile phone.
The basic PlayOn service is free. That’s the good news. The bad news is that PlayOn will soon start charging for mobile access. In order to stream media to an Android device you’ll need to download and install version 3.2 of the desktop client — and the latest version describes mobile access as a “premium preview.” Premium accounts run about $20 per year or you can get unlimited access for a one-time payment of $54.99.
Fortunately there’s a 14-day free trial which lets you test the app before spending any money. You can also stream local content using the My Media Beta feature for free.
When I first installed the PlayOn Android app, I was able to pull up a list of available channels and view programs available for viewing. What I wasn’t able to do was actually stream any content. It turns out PlayOn didn’t know how to automatically work with my WiFi router to support streaming to a mobile device, and after spending a good 20 minutes looking for a way to manually configure my router I’m about ready to give up. Interestingly, I’m having no problem streaming video to my iPod touch though.
If you do manage to get the app working, you should be able to stream content over a WiFi or 3G connection as long as your PC is running and the PlayOn desktop client is active.