Saturday, April 18, 2009

PlayOn and vmcPlayIt


I have been wanted to be able to cancel our cable service for a while.  The thing that I have been wating for is a good way to get the TV content available on line on our TV, without having to use the a keyboard and mouse.  (And ideally integrated into Windows Media Center)



PlayOn is sotware that implements a DNLA server.  Instead of leting you play local content, you can use PlayOn to play videos from Hulu, Amazon Video On Demand, Netflix, YouTube and CBS.  With just the PlayOn software you can either brows videos on the services, or access your queue.  Playing video worked perfectly on my Xbox 360, with PlayOn installed on my Media Center.





The interface to playing videos is not ideal on the Xbox.  This is not the fault of PlayOn, but the Xbox displays DNLA servers as a hierarchical list of list.  In addition, I don't want to have to switch to my Xbox to watch TV content.  Ideally, I would be able to play this content on the Media Center itself.



vmcPlayIt is a Windows Media Center plugin that brings PlayOn content into Windows Media Center.  This also presents the content in a  Windows Media Center UI.  One other great feature of the combination of vmcPlayIt and PlayOn is that since PlayOn transcodes the flash video to, I believe, MPEG2 the video is playable on Media Center Extenders.



Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get the plugin to work to play video.  I was able to browse the categories, but I was only able to see one video in my Netflix Queue.  The plugin is just in beta now, I will definitely be installing it once they fix these bugs.



[via Entertainment 2.0]