Hacking Windows 7 Media Center

Using PlayOn in Windows 7 Media Center via PlayIt Plug-in

by @ 8:00 am on April 9th, 2009 in plugins with 8 Comments

PlayOn PlayOn is a program that has been serving up content to Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and other DLNA capable receivers for a while now. Users of Windows 7 Media Center have been left in the dark up until this point though despite being DLNA capable. That is, until now. Elutmann1 on The Green Button forums has developed a plug-in called PlayIt, letting Media Center users connect to a PlayOn server.

PlayOn provides access to many of the same providers as other streaming media plug-in for Media Center but through a different means. Instead of simply retrieving a webpage and using fancy mouse trickery to present a full screen video, PlayOn uses DLNA to stream the just video itself over the network. This means that PlayIt can use the native playback functions of Windows 7 Media Center including fast forward, pause/play and stop.

PlayIt Integrates Default Controls

PlayIt integrates so well into the native Media Center scheme that it makes it hard to pass up for those wanting that higher level of integration that similar plug-ins lack. There is a down-side, however, as the PlayOn server software isn’t free. For a meager $39.99 you get Netfilx, Amazon Video On Demand, Hulu, CBS, ESPN and even YouTube delivered seamlessly into the Media Center environment.

PlayIt Displaying PlayOn Listings

Despite the price tag of PlayOn this level of integration is worth it. Not everything is glitz and glamour yet with the plug-in, however, as some of the sections provide links to empty areas which may leave some users scratching their heads. The front page of the service selection could be slightly more appealing as well. Also, you’ll need to enter your login information for the various services inside the PlayOn server software, though this isn’t really a fault of the plug-in.

PlayIt Uses Native Playback Functions in Media Center

Getting setup and running with PlayOn and the PlayIt plug-in took only minutes (without entering login information) and there is a trial available for those who want to give it a run before laying down the cash. The video quality is still that of streaming media but the redeeming factors here are amazing. There really isn’t a compelling reason to not give these programs a trial run.

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Comment #298 from Ayoub [Reply]

Will you do a post soon on how to have caller id in win7 mce? Thanks

Comment left April 9, 2009 at 10:26 am Permanent Link
Comment #299 from mhealy [Reply]

Yes, I’ve been meaning to get one done for a bit now but haven’t aquired the proper hardware to test it out yet. I’ll take a look around Newegg for a proper dial-up modem to use and see about getting an article done.

Comment left April 9, 2009 at 11:45 am Permanent Link

@Reply #11748 from jamesf123 [Reply]

Check out vmccontroller.codelex.com. The latest patches include caller ID support.

Comment left May 28, 2010 at 1:34 pm Permanent Link

brian walker
Comment #314 from brian walker [Reply]

How does this work with an extender such as the xbox 360?

Comment left April 10, 2009 at 6:17 am Permanent Link
Comment #315 from mhealy [Reply]

The Xbox 360 actually works with PlayOn out of the box. Just install PlayOn to a PC on the same network as the 360 then click Video Library under MyXbox. PlayOn should appear as a network device allowing you to browse the content.

I haven’t used the PlayIt plug-in through Media Center on the Xbox 360 but since it uses the native playback function of the Media Center I assume it would work fairly seamlessly.

Comment left April 10, 2009 at 9:02 am Permanent Link

Comment #2169 from Anonymous [Reply]

PlayOn was keeping my xbox360 from being able to connect to WMC… I uninstalled it and immediately I was able to connect to media center again on my win7 machine.

I wish there was another option for playing youtube, redtube, etc. without PlayOn.

Comment left July 17, 2009 at 4:05 pm Permanent Link

Comment #11747 from jamesf123 [Reply]

Try TubeCore. Seems to be a solid alternative.

Comment left May 28, 2010 at 1:34 pm Permanent Link

Comment #92906 from tastyratz [Reply]

anyone else run into issues with this on win7 mce?
As soon as I click play it loads most media then promptly exits back to the selection screen. No cbs, no amazon vod browsing at all, no
This is using the latest playit 2.0.2 beta around and 3.6x playon.
note playit is made for vista media center not 7mce. dead at this point?

Comment left December 4, 2012 at 3:10 pm Permanent Link

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