Before we even start, I want to mention that there is a free version of PlayOn that’s NOT just a free trial. It’s actually freeeeeee! If you don’t really care about downloading TV shows, but streaming your videos to your TV sounds interesting, this might be great for you. It also seems that there are certain free movies and shows you can indeed record and stream. Some highlights include Scandal, The 100, Blacklist, Taken, Dirty Dancing, and Jimmy Kimmel Live! Not too shabby for a free version. Unfortunately, I really needed Malcolm in the Middle so… let’s get started!
One of my favorite shows is Malcolm in the Middle; it’s one of very few shows that actually makes me laugh out loud instead of blowing air out of my nose really quickly. So when my sister noticed (thankfully in time) that Netflix was taking it down, I was devastated. I’ve probably watched it at least five times and I still can’t get enough.
It’s wasn’t Netflix’s fault. Contracts expire, shit happens. Still, it kinda sucked. So of course, my first instinct was to find a way to download it. Legally, of course… ahem.
Really really like PlayOn? They offer a LIFETIME plan, which means unlimited Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, HBO Go, whatever downloads forever, for one price. There’s a sale right now (11/21/17) and it’s only $49.99 to get any show that you want to be able to watch offline or before it leaves.
[UPDATE: The Lifetime plan is only $29.99 right now! (As of 12/14/17) Thirty bucks for unlimited downloads. Or you know, however much your cloud/computer/USB drive can hold. My sister bought me this for Christmas. ♥ ]
You can go ahead and stream these videos to your TV or phone as well. With Roku, ChromeCast, Amazon FireTV, iOS and Android devices, and XBox, you can even skip ads using AdSkip! Here’s a full list of devices you can use.
Is PlayOn legal?
Yes. It’s a streaming video recorder and works the same way as a DVR, or TiVo. As long as you keep them to yourself and don’t share the videos, you’re good. There’s even a little warning with your information on blast in case you forget. As long as you’re using PlayOn to conveniently access your shows and don’t distribute them, it’s legal.
So why write about this?
What does PlayOn do for us travelers?
For one, it’s great for layovers. I like to read, but you know it’s time for TV when the words start to blur on the page. Sure, Netflix lets you download certain shows, but only from their approved selection and not to your computer. And there are a lot of other limitations. Downloading whatever shows I want means not having to pay for WiFi at the airport or waiting for anything to buffer. I just used my PlayOn Lifetime to download a bunch of movies for my parents’ road trip.
Two, watching good ol’ American TV helps keep me sane during longer trips. I miss even just hearing English sometimes and have picked up a lasting habit of talking to myself. This used to mean needing an internet connection and relying on YouTube since your Netflix selection changes from country to country if it’s available at all. If I was really desperate, it meant going back on those free streaming sites and exiting out of annoying popup ads every time I wanted to watch an episode. (Man, has Netflix spoiled me.)
With PlayOn, you can download whatever you want ahead of time while you’re booking your flights or planning the rest of your trip. Then, just go to the airport, plop yourself down, and watch your favorite shows as you wait for the plane to board.
And three, you can watch your shows at any restaurant if you’re solo traveling. Sometimes, I plan while I eat, but usually, I’m wishing I had my laptop in front of me with some internet. Next best thing? A phone with all my shows.
System Requirements for PlayOn Desktop
Not gonna lie, my computer’s not in love with recording these videos. That said, I’m still able to watch Netflix and have over a dozen Chrome tabs open without any lag. The fan’s just a little louder.
|Microsoft Windows 10, Windows 8/8.1, Windows 7. Unfortunately,
Mac users will have to find another way.
|At least Windows Internet Explorer 9.|
|512 MB RAM (1 GB recommended).|
|More detailed requirements.|