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Playon testing new 'DVR' for online video

Discussion in 'Internet Streaming Services' started by Athlon646464, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. Athlon646464

    Athlon646464 Gold Members DBSTalk Gold Club

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    As an original beta tester for Playon, I've been asked to evaluate a new 'service' they may release in the future. It looks very interesting. (I'd share with you guys, but only one download is permitted per email.)

    Here are some interesting bits from the info page. (I am not supposed to give out the link.)

    ***********************************

    Install on any PC and just click on the PlayLater icon to start recording your favorite shows to watch later and again.

    Watch your personal favorites anytime, even offline.

    Introducing PlayLater, the DVR for online video. Record your favorite online TV shows, movies, live sports and more!

    PlayLater is groundbreaking new technology that gives you the freedom to record your favorite online videos and enjoy them on your schedule, even if you aren't connected to the internet. As more and more of you are getting your favorite shows online, we felt that it was high time the rest of your entertainment technology caught up. After all, the same reasons that apply to recording TV shows and movies in the old world apply to the new world, right? Convenience, access, and frankly — sometimes you don't have an Internet connection available and that shouldn't bar you from watching your favorite shows. The future of entertainment is online and now you can record the future.

    FAQ's

    What kind of videos can I record?
    All the channels supported by PlayOn will be instantly available for PlayLater customers. Additionally, the plug-ins that expand the channel selection for PlayOn will also be available for PlayLater, giving our users an amazing array of content to enjoy.

    Is PlayLater legal?

    PlayLater is a legal technology that is designed to let individuals watch legal online content at a time of their choosing. Just like the broadcast DVR and the VCR before it, PlayLater is designed for personal use and convenience.

    ***********************************
     
  2. Chris Blount

    Chris Blount Creator of DBSTalk Staff Member Administrator DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Wow! So that's something I might use. One of the big problems with streaming is that you must have a good, steady and fast internet connection. By downloading in advance, it would pretty much eliminate that requirement.
     
  3. Athlon646464

    Athlon646464 Gold Members DBSTalk Gold Club

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    I started playing with my new Playlater Beta app this morning. Here is a screen shot:

    [​IMG]

    You can see most of the 'channels' available in that screen shot. The navigation screens to choose a show/episode/movie are very easy to use.

    As you can see, I'm in the middle of downloading a Star trek episode from Netflix. The question I have is can I save that episode on my NAS drive and play it back using my WD Live Plus anytime I want.

    My guess is no because of the file format Playlater is saving the show in. Interestingly enough it is a .plv file called '03_ The Changeling.plv'. I would like to be able to watch it without having to run my computer to do so, like I can now with all of my other media from my NAS. That would be too cool. I will play around with that after I get the whole file and let you know. I'll try and convert it, although I can't imagine it would be this easy. Can you get your mind around being able to download the whole Netflix catalog?

    It's downloading the file quicker than 'real time'. It has taken about 10 minutes to grab 30% of the 777.88MB file. (I always wondered what size they were. B)) I'm wondering if this version of the file from Netflix is smaller than what my WD box would ask for........

    In the settings for Playlater you can specify where you would like to save the file. The default was in my Videos folder.

    If you have any questions - fire away! :)
     
  4. Athlon646464

    Athlon646464 Gold Members DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Corrections to my comments above.......

    It actually does record in real time. It took the full 50 minutes to retrieve the show, and the file size is 1,019,261kb. (It's beta software, so it must have been a guess for the original file size estimate.)

    When I double clicked on the file, it opened and played perfectly with Windows Media Player. The instructions that came with Playlater say you can watch the files only on the computer they were downloaded to. Later today I will play around with the file to see what I can do with it.
     
  5. Nick

    Nick Retired, part-time PITA DBSTalk Club

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    The...
    All that just to watch a movie on your pc screen? How is that better than (not then) Roku or a dozen other devices?

    I don't get it. I have 'the cloud'.
     
  6. Athlon646464

    Athlon646464 Gold Members DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Playon is a program that will serve up internet video to many devices from your PC. You may also watch the videos on your PC as well of course. I used to use it a lot before I got my Synology NAS device & WD box. I would stream to my DirecTV DVR's with it and watch on my 60" TV.

    The negative is that your PC must be on in order to use it. I will be testing that file to see what I can do with it when I get some time.

    For some, if it works at least as well as it did this morning, they could download content during off hours and not use up bandwidth when watching the downloaded content later. It could actually come in very handy for that, especially if your ISP reduces charges during off peak hours. Also - if you have spotty or inconsistent internet, this would be very useful as no buffering is required to watch

    There are also many many more channels available than on all of our media boxes combined. There are hundreds of 'user' designed scripts available to add channels to Playon.

    To answer your question, it's not just for viewing on your PC, just another tool in your toolbox. It is not for everyone, but some could find it useful for different reasons. Basically, it's a DVR for IPTV.
     
  7. Athlon646464

    Athlon646464 Gold Members DBSTalk Gold Club

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    I have had a busy few days, so testing the download will come later, perhaps tomorrow. I did copy it to my NAS this morning in it's original form, and it would not play from there. Then I tried it from both my PC & from the Playlater program itself and it would not play - so something has gone wrong. Gotta love beta software.

    I will check with them when I get more time.
     
  8. Athlon646464

    Athlon646464 Gold Members DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Disclaimer: I do not work for Mediamall, Playon or the Playlater team. I am not promoting the software, only reporting what it can do. IMHO this is a groundbreaking idea, especially for those with poor internet speeds - those tired of seeing 'buffering' pop up all the time.

    **********************************

    A reboot solved the playback issue. (Others have had the same thing happen.)

    **********************************

    Another purpose of this 'DVR for IPTV', for example, is for titles on Netflix that will soon no longer be available for streaming and you want to save them for later. (For that info check with Feedfliks.)

    **********************************

    This morning my goal was to figure out a way to watch a saved show/movie from my NAS on my WD box without having to have my computer on. I did it! (And no, I'm not going to download the entire Netflix catalog. :))

    Because the PLV file (the proprietary format Playlater uses) file is viewable with WMP, I tried loading it into Windows Live Movie Maker and it worked! I then simply saved it for 'playback on a high definition display (1080p)'. Bingo, I now have a WMV version of the file on my NAS.

    I am also able to play it using any of my DirecTV DVR's using Media Play from my NAS!

    **********************************

    Here are the channels available today (these channels are before you add any of the others available with user generated scripts for other web sites):

    [​IMG]
     
  9. sledgehammer1367066128

    sledgehammer1367066128 New Member

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    Selected an old SitCom from TV.com; selected a single 24 minute episode for testing. An hour an a half later it was still recording, so I hit "Cancel" thinking something had hung up. I then selected a couple of 2 - 3 minute clips from another channel to see what would happen. They seemed to record just fine. Button in "My Recordings" changed to 'Completed' though, not 'Play'. None of the four recordings would play. They would open Media Player, but then an error box would open and the programs would not play. Tried both from the Play Later screen and Media Player direct.

    I needed to do a PC reboot anyways due to some software upgrades, so I went ahead and did that. Once the reboot completed, all four recordings played fine without error.

    Despite only selecting a single episode of the one SitCom, it actually recorded three full episodes with ads in between. If I hadn't stopped it, it may have recorded a full season, not sure. Also, the .plv file in My Videos only shows the one episode title as the file name.

    Now I have to try and figure out how to break them up in Windows Live Movie Maker. I have that program, but have never figured out how to use it successfully.
     
  10. Athlon646464

    Athlon646464 Gold Members DBSTalk Gold Club

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    I had to do the reboot thing as well to get it to work. It's one of the things they are trying to sort out.
     
  11. sledgehammer1367066128

    sledgehammer1367066128 New Member

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    Did they fix it?

    I pulled down 6 half-hour sitcoms from the TV.com tab last night but didn't get a chance to check them right away. This morning I was able to play them from the PlayLater screen and WinLive Movie Maker without a reboot.

    So, did they fix the reboot issue or was it because of the long delay between record and playback?
     
  12. Athlon646464

    Athlon646464 Gold Members DBSTalk Gold Club

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    My guess is that is was a result of you rebooting your computer since your initial install.
     
  13. sledgehammer1367066128

    sledgehammer1367066128 New Member

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    Well, that would be OK. It's not uncommon to require a reboot after initial install, but I was afraid I'd have to reboot after each recording session.

    But if that's what it is, they should include something in the Install instructions.
     
  14. Athlon646464

    Athlon646464 Gold Members DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Yup - it's beta software. I included that in one of my reports back to them, as did many others.
     
  15. sledgehammer1367066128

    sledgehammer1367066128 New Member

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    Second time this happened.

    Selected the Pilot episode of "227" from TV.com

    Recording did not stop at end of show, but continued well past. Recording should have been about 325,000 Kb based on previous recordings of similar shows, but file was over 485,000 Kb when I stopped it. I haven't tried to play it back yet as I'm still recording other shows. I'm sure when I do, there will be part of the next episode recorded also.

    Note that I had 4 other shows queued; three from the same series and channel, the other two from a different channel. The first recorded properly, the second is the one that over-recorded, the third failed for some reason (not sure why yet) and returned to the queue, the fourth recorded properly, still waiting for the fifth episode and to see if the error will record or not.
     
  16. Athlon646464

    Athlon646464 Gold Members DBSTalk Gold Club

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    If you have the time, be sure to let them know your findings. I haven't seen that happen here.
     

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