August 28, 2009, 8:12 AM — PlayOn, the Windows software that enhances media streaming to Xbox 360 and Sony PS3 gaming systems (or any other DLNA compliant device), has announced that it will start supporting the Nintendo Wii as well.
For those not familiar with the software, PlayOn is a media server that accepts media from the internet, transcodes it into a format your device can understand, then streams the content to your console. This lets you watch content from sites such as Hulu on an Xbox or PS3. Generally speaking the software is most relevant for Xbox 360 owners, since the PS3 has a web browser that allows watching many streaming sites, but with Hulu opting to block PS3, PlayOn is a means for PS3 owners to regain access to Hulu's content.
Presumably, on the Nintendo Wii PlayOn will require that you have the Wii Web Browser installed since the Wii isn't a DLNA device and doesn't normally support streaming media. If that is the case, then the same support should work for any device with a web browser.
Because of the transcoding step, PlayOn requires a relatively powerful PC running Windows XP or Vista. Throwing more memory and CPU muscle at it will allow higher resolution content to stream smoothly. You'll want the computer to be dedicated to running PlayOn while you're viewing content; it'll feel pretty sluggish trying to get other work done on the machine at the same time.
PlayOn costs $39.95 and offers a 14-day trial. I'd urge you to try before you buy, since there're a lot of parts to this system. For most people it seems to work very nicely 'out of the box' but a small percentage of users are going to have problems that they might never sort out. I've been told that using coupon code AUG10OFF will get you $10 off the price if you order before Sept. 1st. Consider that hearsay; I haven't tested it. But if you're going to buy, it's worth a try.
I can't talk about PlayOn without mentioning TVersity, an alternative that doesn't get as much press. TVersity offers a free version that is effectively crippled by not supporting what they call "Premium" content (which includes Hulu, Joost, all the major networks...essentially most of what you'd want the software for), but their Pro version is only $29.95.