PlayOn Media Stream – XBMC Media Center:
Well after a few weeks of having my new XBOX XBMC setups running in both rooms, I decided to check into some scripts and plugins that are available for the Media Center. What I found were some streaming scripts for different web sites and services like Apple Trailers and Music Stations. Although some of these scripts work some of the time and offer more features to what is already an amazing media center, I felt they fell short of what I would want out of them.
So on the verge of settling with what I was sure will be a waist of my time and efforts, I found a website that claimed it could stream services such as Netflix Instant Que, Hulu and Youtube video to some modern game systems like XBOX360 and the Wii. At first I thought I was going to get discouraged when I realized they are using UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) protocol to stream these services to those modern systems. Well wouldn’t you know, XBMC has the ability to connect to UPNP Servers. Just when I thought I couldn’t love XBMC more.
So here’s how it works. You install this software on a computer that is part of your network; PlayOn as it is called. What PlayOn does right off the shelf is turn your PC into a UPnP Stream Server, allowing you to stream everything from Pandora, Hulu, Youtube, Netflix and many more right from first install. It requires some simple setup to get it running on both the PC and XBMC end, but once you do, it does what is says it does. I have now watched about 6 movies from Netflix and Hulu with no hiccups in the stream even across My Wireless G Bridge. Only downfall I could see is it does not allow for Skip Ahead or Skip Back, so you will need to sit and watch the movie when you start it. You are able to pause the video, and some services do allow for playback from where you stop, such as Netflix. Another great benefit to PlayOn is it allows third party plugins, and let me tell you there are plugins for everything you could ask for.