As expected, the folks at PlayOn have developed an app for the iPhone and other mobile devices. What’s surprising is that it’s not a native app, but a web-based app, which means you can use it on the iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, Google Android, or any other device with an HTML5-capable browser. Update: It looks like I got a bit carried away. While you can use an Android device to access the PlayOn mobile interface, it doesn’t appear to be able to stream video on Android phones or tablets.
Basically, Apple was dragging its feet on approving the iOS app, so VentureBeat reports that PlayOn decided to release a web app instead.
Here’s how it works. You download and install the Playon client on a Windows PC. Then you fire up a web browser on your mobile device and visit m.playon.tv. As long as you’re connected to your home WiFi network, you should see a list of computers with PlayOn installed. Check the one you want, and you should be able to stream web video to your mobile device from Hulu, CBS, Comedy Central, and other online video sources.
PlayOn uses your host computer to grab the web video and stream it to your mobile device, which is why the web app only works when you’re connected to your home network. PlayOn can also stream video from your PC to a video game console or other device in your house, making it a useful app for bringing web video to your TV without setting up a computer in the living room.
In order to use the new mobile streaming service you’ll need to have the latest version of PlayOn installed. If you’re a new customer and want all the bells and whistles, you’ll need to pony up $39.99 for the first year and $19.99 per year after that (or $79.99 for a one-time fee). That will provide you with premium access to content from Comedy Central, Spike, and other sources.
If you’re an existing PlayOn customer who just paid a cheaper one-time fee, you can still use PlayOn Basic. This gives you access to Hulu, CBS, and some other channels, but not premium content such as The Daily Show and Colbert Report. One thing that’s not obvious is that existing users can’t upgrade using a patch. Instead you have to download the full installer, enter your name and email address, and hold your breath. If all goes right, your PlayOn Basic license should be transferred, allowing you to get your web video fix anywhere… in your house.
There’s also a 14 day free trial available.
You can find some more screenshots after the break.