PlayOn.TV Review - A Must For Roku Owners

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There is a whole other world of cord cutting that a lot of Roku owners, along with Apple TV users, aren't really aware of. Having a personal media server is a great way to store all of your files on a PC and then stream them to your devices, but a lot of people are afraid of trying to install a special operating system, understanding file structures, and trying to figure out just what they are supposed to be doing when something doesn't work. Fortunately, PlayOn.TV offers an easy way to set up your computer so that you can have HD video stream from your computer whenever you want it. On top of that, it also simplifies the process of getting around restrictions that manufacturers have placed on their devices. Have something that doesn't get along with HBO Go? Not a problem anymore.

What Is PlayOn.TV?

PlayOn.TV is a special app. As I mentioned, it allows you to stream HD video to your streaming device from a personal media server that is created using the software, but there is so much more to this special app.

There are a lot of channels that are a part of PlayOn. Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, CNN, NBC, ESPN, A&E, HBO Go, Fox, Disney, The CW, and more are all here and fully supported, allowing you to watch full length shows, previews, and special features that you aren't going to find on any other streaming service.

In total, you’ll have access to over 60 apps when you first setup your PlayOn account. Much like the Roku, though, there is a channel store that will make it easy to find plenty more channels that fit any taste and cover almost any genre.

You might be saying that some of those are already available, bear with me, you’ll see why this is important.

What Do You Need For PlayOn.TV?

Many people worry that they're going to have to buy a lot of equipment, install lots of software, and go through a difficult learning curve before they ever have something new set up on their device. That isn't the case here.

Overall, you’ll just need one of the supported devices, a high speed internet connection, and a way to get the signal to your device. Most people use WiFi signals that are built into their device, but if your chosen set top box doesn't have wireless capabilities you will have to use an ethernet cord to plug it into the modem or router that you use to receive your internet connection.

What Devices Are Supported?

PlayOn.TV supports a number of the most popular devices as well as video game systems. Right now, it supports Playstation 3 and 4, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Google Tv, OmniBox, Roku, Android Phones, Kindle Fire, Nook Color, iPad, iPhone, and Chromecast will soon be supported.

Some of these already have plenty of apps available that offer a lot of streaming content, but none of them do it quite the way that PlayOn.TV does.

Why Is It A Must For Roku Owners?

In particular, Roku owners can benefit from what PlayOn has to offer. You see, much like Apple likes to control over what kind of content is provided on their devices, Roku has decided which apps will and won’t be a part of their service. In some cases this is because the content providers don’t like the cord cutting movement, but there are a lot of factors at play. Channel restrictions, episode limits, streaming delays, and pay only content are a frequent problem for Roku users, especially when they want to watch something that is owned by one of the major cable companies.

With PlayOn, however, Roku users can access apps that aren’t supported by the Roku without having to worry about hacking into it and trying to manually install apps that may or may not actually work. YouTube for a long time was unsupported by the Roku, and it has an app now, but it isn’t up to par with a lot of other offerings.

Apps like Comedy Central, MTV, SyFy, and more offer more when you use the PlayOn app as well. The official Roku apps usually offer nothing more than a couple of previews and sneak peeks, but nothing substantial. That changes when you have full featured apps that are able to stream the same full length shows that the companies offer on their websites.

Using It As A Media Server

One of the most important features for Roku owners is the ability to use PlayOn as a media server. There are other options like Plex, but it doesn’t have the right feel for a lot of people.

myMedia is the software used for setting up the server, and you’d be surprised how easy it is. It is as simple as installing a piece of software and then dragging and dropping files into a special folder that you set up for streaming. When you first install myMedia, it will even suggest options for you and automatically find files that are stored locally. Taking out as much guesswork as possible is important when you have such a simple device. The simpler the better when it comes to cutting the cord without having to learn how to write computer code in order to do it.

The Verdict

Overall, if you are a Roku owner there is a lot that you are still missing out on. You don’t have to worry about that with PlayOn.TV. If you have a diverse taste that leads you to streaming all kinds of video, in addition to your personal collection on your PC, you can’t do much better than this. The ability to open up channels that would otherwise not be available, in addition to the server capabilities, make it perfect. Of course, if you need something more open-source and technical, there is always Plex, which offers a lot of the features, but requires a bit more know how and doesn’t have the same aesthetic qualities that PlayOn.TV has.


I see PlayOn, the horrible, unnecessary rip off software, is still trying to attach itself to the wildly popular Roku in an effort to once again try and pull profit from someone else's work.

The software is heavy, resource intensive, buggy, and in a constant state of update to get around content owner's rights.

If one looks at Roku's own forums, notice that PlayOn is not allowed to be discussed there, and was removed from the channel store. PlayOn then quickly scrambled to show people how to get around it, and blamed the developer of the channel for ripping off another's work.

Head on over to the Roku forums, perform a search for "PlayOn", and read up.

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