PlayOn is a popular application that cord cutters often turn to when they want to stream web video to the TV. With channels for online video sites like Hulu, TBS, Comedy Central and other content companies, it provides a good cross-section of popular content for viewers’ consumption. But they will soon get a lot more options, as PlayOn has opened up its API, enabling its users to build channels for their own favorite content sources.
The PlayDirect API enables users to simply specify the URL of a video and add it to a channel. By doing so, the company has increased the speed with which users can create new channels. And that, in turn has led to an increase in available channels: Its users have submitted new channels for videos from the Food Network, Disney Channel Live, Limetime, and TV Land, among others. Altogether, PlayOn has received more than 20 new channels since making its API available.
PlayOn isn’t the only media server company to allow its users to develop new applications on its platform. Before it got into the hardware game, Boxee was known for its media center software, which allowed anyone to create apps. And Roku issued an open software development kit so that media companies and developers could create their own channels on the set-top box. Like those companies, PlayOn plans to release a channel store from which users can choose multiple publicly available applications.
Adding new channels will hopefully help PlayOn attract new users. The software costs $40 after a two-week trial period and enables users to stream personal media and web video to a wide range of connected devices. Using Universal Plug and Play (UPnP), PlayOn supports devices including game consoles like the Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3 and Wii, as well as mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad and Android mobile devices. In addition users can connect the software to Google TV-powered connected TVs and Blu-ray players and broadband set-top boxes from Roku and Netgear.
Developers interested in building channels can go to www.playon.tv/channels/developer-guide.