PlayOn, which makes software that allows you to stream personal media and web video to gaming consoles and other devices, is now enabling users to stream movies and TV shows on the iPhone and iPod Touch without downloading or installing an app to do so. By integrating its software with a new HTML5-based web app, PlayOn users will be able to watch previously unavailable web video sites like Netflix and Hulu.
To get the streaming to work, a user needs to install PlayOn on their PCs and log on to http://m.playon.tv from the mobile device while connected to his home network. The mobile app then searches for PlayOn servers on the home network, from which it can stream content from any number of web video sites or personal media files. The software works by local transcoding and streaming content from the local PC in an iPhone-supported format. Using the HTML5 video tag and video encoded in a multi-bit rate H.264 format, PlayOn even enables dynamic streaming to ensure the best video quality based upon available bandwidth.
PlayOn developed the HTML5 web app after its plans for an iPhone and iPad app released through the App Store were stalled. The company was planning on having the iPhone app become available on July 15, but had its application pulled for a second review by Apple after already once receiving approval. But CEO Jeff Lawrence says there was no functional advantage of having a standalone app versus the web app, except having some promotional aspect from being in the App Store. However, the advantage of the HTML5 web app is PlayOn’s ability to update and iterate without having to constantly resubmit new versions for approval by Apple.
While the HTML5-based web app only works on the iPhone and iPod Touch now, PlayOn is working to extend the capability to the iPad. The company is also looking to make servers available over the wide area network by allowing users to eventually connect to home networks from anywhere by using an IP address.
The PlayOn software, which is (unfortunately) only available for the PC, costs $39.99 for the first year and $19.99 per year after that. Or it can be had for a one-time payment of $79.99.