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Summary:

PlayOn says 30 percent of its customers have canceled their cable subscriptions, with another 10 percent downgrading them. Based on the number of users that have downgraded or done away with cable, the startup estimates that it saves customers $24 million a year on cable bills.

playon

Software maker MediaMall says 30 percent of its customers have canceled their cable subscriptions after using its PlayOn digital media server software to watch over-the-top video on the TV. And based on the number of its users that have downgraded their cable or done away with it altogether, the startup estimates that it saves customers $24 million a year on cable subscriptions.

The PlayOn software enables users to stream online video from nearly any online video source directly to the TV through an Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii or any other DLNA-compliant device. The software gives users access to any online video service, including videos found on Hulu and network sites like ABC.com or CBS.com, not just those that have struck deals with the box makers.

Access to all that content has led to a number of its users cutting the cord. MediaMall surveyed nearly 1,000 users to get a feel for how its software affected their cable TV consumption, and found that 30 percent of respondents claimed to have canceled their cable subscriptions, and an additional 10 percent said they had downgraded those subscription.

PlayOn isn’t free — it costs $39.99 for the first year of use, with an additional $19.99 per year fee for support thereafter. A one-time payment option of $79.99 is also available. But MediaMall says it saves users a bunch of money by allowing them to get at the content that they want and watch it on the big screen.

PlayOn users that cut the cord completely saved between $360 and $1440 a year, according to MediaMall, with the majority saving something in the range of $500 to $900 a year. Those who merely downgraded their service saved between $240 and $360 a year. If you multiply the average savings of those respondents across the entire PlayOn customer base, the software maker estimates it saves users about $24 million a year in total.

All that said, there is one big downside to PlayOn, especially for Mac users like me. The software is Windows-only, and will be for the foreseeable future. While Apple is steadily gaining traction in the PC market, MediaMall says the addressable user base is still too small to justify building an application for Mac users.

In addition to the cord-cutting stats, MediaMall also gave us some info on the breakdown of which devices its customers use to stream to their TVs. Most of its users are gamers, with 53 percent owning a Wii, 49 percent owning a PS3, 42 percent owning an Xbox 360 and 50 percent own some other DLNA-compliant device. It doesn’t take a math major to see that most respondents own multiple supported devices. According to PlayOn, 74 percent of users surveyed said they used its software multiple times a week, but only 25 percent do so on a Wii, despite most users having one. Instead, the majority use a PS3, Xbox 360 or other box when available.

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  1. It would seem that any user who has a computer plugged directly into a TV would see no benefit in this service. Just surf to the site and play.

    1. Actually, it’s a lot more convenient than having a PC hooked up to your TV. No need to browse when you can use PlayOn to take you directly to all of the videos on a site and even have them categorized. The PS3 and 360 interface makes it very user friendly and the plugins have a pretty good selection.

  2. PlayOn works great with my Mac running Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac. You can get a free trial here http://www.parallels.com/desktop

    1. hello John,

      I just did a fresh install of parallels 6 and playon. i can see everything on my xbox but when i play something, it gives me an error. it says it can’t play it. error code 69.

      what am i doing wrong?

    2. I’m getting a .NET framework error when I try to get PlayOn to work running Windows 7 on Parallels 6. It just worked for you out of the box, you didn’t have to change any network settings, or do anything else to get it working? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I’ve already paid for the service, now I’m not able to use it. Damn.

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