Web video streaming has always been a selective experience on Apple devices, limited to specialized apps and HTML5-enabled Web sites. Even the recent announcement of Hulu Plus doesn't fully solve the problem, with its selective library and high monthly cost.
The makers of PlayOn, a useful media-streaming program for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, have a new solution, in the form of an iPhone version of the PlayOn app. It will be available in the iTunes App Store as a free download starting July 15, but it requires you to own the PC-based PlayOn software, which unfortunately recently moved from a one-time purchase to an annual subscription model, with rates running from $5 to $40 per year, depending on whether you're an existing customer (discounted deals are occasionally offered as well).
Previously, I described how PlayOn helped me decide to mothball the media center PC connected to my home theater setup, as it provides for on-the-fly streaming and transcoding of Hulu (and content from a handful of other online sources), plus video files from the local PC the PlayOn server software resides on. It's an imperfect, sometimes clunky solution, but the ability to get Hulu running on a big-screen TV via your game console makes it a killer app.
The new iPhone app works much the same way, streaming the content from Hulu and other sources from a base PC on your network to your iPhone. Simply download and install the PlayOn software on a laptop or desktop (there's a two-week free trial), and have it run in the background. Once you install the PlayOn app on your iPhone, it will see the PC and connect, then let you choose from a variety of media sources. … Read more