PlayOn brings media streaming to Windows Phone with a new official app


Better late than never is a phrase we're used to repeating for official apps on Windows Phone and now PlayOn is the latest entry to add to that list. If you're not familiar with the branding, it's a media server for Windows computers with support for mainstream channels, enabling consumers to stream HD shows, movies and personal media files from the PC to a TV, smartphone or tablet.

PlayOn pulls down content from popular channels without requiring costly cable and satellite subscriptions. The software installed on the Windows PC will be required to run to keep the service live even when you're out and about, allowing your Windows Phone to connect. To make use of PlayOn in the living room, the service itself relies on pairing up with an Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii, WiiU or supported hardware like the Roku.


Supported channels include Hulu, Netflix, Comedy Central, CNN, NHL, CBS, ESPN, Amazon Video on Demand, PBS, and any more. Some channels will require a subscription for access, which will be available separately. Check out the official PlayOn website for more details and to download the free trial. The app itself isn't styled correctly for Windows Phone, but at least it's available for download.

QR: PlayOn

Thanks, Mark, for the tip!


Reader comments

PlayOn brings media streaming to Windows Phone with a new official app


I think they're coming now not because windows phone is gaining more market share but more because developers have accepted it's here to stay!

Yep.. Also with 8.1. I think that Microsoft shot itself in the foot without having it a little more open source like at first. However it was for good reason. It's more balanced now.

I am amazed it was deemed worthy of an article. There are other streaming solutions available. We are going to end up inadvertently promoting this kind of shit to potential newcomer developers who happen to stumble across these articles on the most "socially official" windows phone user base. Dropped the ball on this one, we shouldn't be rewarding this behavior.

To add to this: I'd recommend downloading it, helping their numbers and all, but definitely give them feedback as to the UI so they can fix it. And to be fair, Rich did say the UI sucked.

Heh, yeah the UI is awful, but it's an official app (what we need), shows at least early signs of support (definitely what we need) and with enough downloads could spark some real development from the company. Here's hoping anyway...

The best part of PlayOn/PlayLater is being able to easily record almost any streaming site to a home media server so you can play it later on your TV or mobile device. Doing that allows you to skip commercials on Hulu streams for example. BTW, it allows you to watch Hulu anywhere without a subscription. I've been using it at work to start recordings of World Cup games on ESPN3 then watch them on the big screen when I get home. It's a great service for cord cutters.

You obviously have never used this service. It is not just another typical streaming solution. Check out their website and learn about something before you comment that it is a failure to report on a service that many people have been waiting on. I am very glad they finally made this app. Also, it is fair to comment on the design of an interface and suggest improvements but to trash a developer after they put in the effort to create an app for devices that make up a relatively small marketshare of smartphones is insulting to the rest of the Windows Phone community. I personally want this platform to grow so I have access to every service that's out there. The more that happens the more phones that sell and the more attention and improvements our apps get. Bitching about the promotion of official apps that come out and functionally work fine is counterproductive.

I would feel bad except it looks like a cut and paste job. I doubt that it took much effort at all to release it in the store. And no, I have not used the service, fair enough. However, I would rather have no app for a service than one that breaks the continuity of my phone's interface. There is even a thread on user voice with MANY votes about the fact that we do NOT want Android apps on WP. Now that Android is moving to the South Park interface, and the lines are being drawn in the sand, it is more important now than ever before that we hold on to that Metro identity.

I understand the desire to hold on to the Metro look, android looks aweful to me too. I've been enjoying Metro since the Zune HD but for the first time I'm beginning to consider switching to iOS or Android because as an overall platform they are starting to look more attractive to me. Clinging to Metro at all costs is simply going to kill the whole platform because no developer in their right mind wants to create three completely different designs, and maintain them all, if there isn't significant profit being made to support that effort. It's taken all this time to get enough users on Windows Phone to make it reasonable for developers on other platforms to at least create the equivilant app on our devices. To shun them and make them feel unwelcome simply because the interface isn't Metro enough seems insane to me. I think we should all let them know we appreciate that they have arrived and support them. I don't have any problem suggesting they improve the design or look of their apps but to suggest they shouldn't even exist on the platform unless they meet some metro design standard is nuts. If you don't like it then download it, write a review asking for changes, and then delete the app. You'll make your point and you never have to look at it again. Granted, this app is pretty utilitarian and certainly does not have a beautiful interface but, it is still easy to understand and use and it functions well. To me, that is more important from a design standpoint than looking pretty and having pivots.

That's what I put as my second comment. I feel like feedback is important, and I guess I feel like that should have been spotlighted a little heavier in the review, even if only to encourage it, rather than downloading the app at face value and keeping it as is. Without active input, little changes will be made, and that's far more disastrous than releasing a bad UI, because then it will become commonplace and seem perfectly acceptable in the long term. I do appreciate the intelligent discussion around the matter. I think a lot of good points were made.

Yeah, I get where you're coming from. It's a tricky balance of increasing popular apps and gaining market share while not losing what differentiates the platform. I'm not exactly sure what the right approach is but I certainly don't want to make any developer feel unappreciated after they make a useful app. Initially I thought you were being a bit harsh but I'm glad it's still possible to discuss things in the comments without calling each other a-holes...lol...

I use this program all the time so I was thrilled to see the app finally show up and since I'm the one who tipped this app to WP Central I may have been a little overly sensitive to the article being criticized. :)

What the hell is this UI even supposed to be?
It looks like an aborted iOS and $16 Walmart MP3 player love child fetus.

Guys before commenting about the bad design, please download these official apps and show the support.

I think some of these official app makers are testing the waters. If they see many downloads they might update it with good design and more features in future.

Although I dont use it I am glad that they are bringing their app to WP. This will help WP platform greatly.

Sritech is right. We are having an explosion of real companies. Aren't you tired of the app gap? Well this helps slam that door.

Firstly learn why the app is designed this way. I fully expected the design to be exactly like this and I wanted this app before moving to Windows Phone.

I don't see why a less shiny look would have a different functionality. It is just more pleasing for the eye.

What's with Microsoft and green lately? Captain planet would be proud. Jesus MS, just hug a fucking tree and get it over with.

Looks like a shitty iOS4 port, but I'll take it!  I people who complain that there aren't enough apps are gonna have to settle for ugly garbage like this. 

The app seems to be broken. All I get after choosing my PC is a blue screen with the PlayOn logo at the top.

Make sure you have the latest version of PlayOn on your server. I had the same problem and that fixed it.

Hmm this'll teach me to buy something before thoroughly researching.

I was suckered in by their 30 day money back guarantee, but now that I want out 5 minutes after installing, I see many complaints that this refund is not honored. Wish me luck.