PlayOn gives cord-cutters an offline DVR, but it’s pricey

    While streaming video has loads of issues going for it, watching TV offline isn’t one in every of them.

    Streaming providers like Netflix and Hulu don’t work with out web entry, and reside TV providers equivalent to Sling TV and YouTube TV include cloud-based DVRs that solely work on-line. Those necessities generally is a drawback for some potential cord-cutters, significantly those that don’t have quick, reliable web service at dwelling.

    That’s what makes PlayOn’s new Android TV app so intriguing. With sure streaming units, equivalent to Nvidia’s Shield TV or the brand new TiVo Stream 4K, you’ll be able to document reveals from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and different streaming providers, then obtain them for offline viewing. It’s a intelligent approach to take care of web pace limits and nonetheless have lots to look at.

    The solely drawback is PlayOn’s convoluted value construction, which may get costly shortly.

    How PlayOn downloads streaming video

    PlayOn has been round for greater than a decade, and I’ve coated it just a few instances on this column. Until now, I’ve largely targeted on its Windows software. For a one-time buy of $70 (and sometimes on sale for a lot much less), that software program helps you to document reveals out of your streaming providers onto a PC.

    Not everybody has a devoted Windows pc, although, so in late 2016, PlayOn launched a cloud-based version of its service. Instead of constructing you document reveals by yourself {hardware}, PlayOn Cloud data applications remotely, then helps you to obtain them by way of its iOS or Android apps. You can then forged the movies to Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, or Fire TV over an area Wi-Fi connection.

    Jared Newman / IDG

    PlayOn’s cellular app helps you to signal into streaming providers and handle recordings.

    That strategy additionally had one drawback: Most telephones don’t have ample storage for dozens of flicks or TV episodes, so that you needed to preserve most recordings on-line till you wanted them. With the brand new Android TV app, you’ll be able to plug an exterior exhausting drive into your streaming participant, load it up with downloads, then watch them offline straight by way of your TV. PlayOn can document movies from greater than 20 streaming sources, together with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, HBO, Showtime, Tubi, and CBS All Access. (You nonetheless want to make use of PlayOn’s iOS or Android apps to signal into these providers and arrange recordings.)

    I examined this on an 2017 Nvidia Shield TV with a 128GB thumb drive, and whereas the interface may use some polish, I used to be impressed with how the software program labored. PlayOn presents a easy, two-part menu, indicating which recordings are saved on-line with PlayOn, and which of them are on the system itself.

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