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November 26, 2009

I finally tried using PlayOn to stream internet video to my Xbox 360. I was inspired by the half-off sale ($19.99) they are running through the end of the month.

The PlayOn software allows me to access content from Netflix, Hulu, Revision 3 (with a plugin), YouTube and a variety of other internet video sources. When accessed from the Xbox 360 dashboard, the service works really well. Videos begin to play within about 15 seconds and video quality is acceptable to me, but doesn’t seem as good as NetFlix’s watch instantly accessed from the Xbox 360 dashboard. The advantage PlayOn has is that NetFlix watch instantly selections can be accessed from any Xbox in our house, not just those that happen to have a gold user signed in. The service has a decent series of menus that allow you to access content on the different services. I will certainly pay the $19.99 to register my copy.

I also tried the Media Center plugin vmcPlayIt that allows access to the PlayOn service from within Media Center. This seems to work just fine (albeit with limited testing) when used from the Media Center PC itself, but it fails for me consistently when I try to use it from an extender. A video will play for no more than 10 seconds and then lock up. From the threat on the Green Button devoted to vmcPlayOn I have determined that others have had my experience in trying to use vmcPlayIt from an extender (specifically people using Windows 7 and an Xbox 360 extender), although others do seem to be able to use it.

I’d like to be able to use PlayOn from within Media Center (which means extenders in our house), but the functionality is sufficiently valuable that I’m willing to go to Xbox dashboard to use it, albeit reluctantly.


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