PlayOn is Pretty Cool (1 Viewer)

schneid

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 27, 2007
806
76
In the Wind
In the Stream+ Thread, Scott mentioned PlayOn as a DVR solution. I looked, was impressed, got a pop-up $29.99 "lifetime" offer and bit. Using my PC as a Server for now and my disliked FireTV that has an app for it that runs. So far I have recorded from Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Most impressive is that it seems to bring the original format along. I mean, DD+ recordings from Netflix are pushed from my AVR as DD+. My LG OLED isn't coming til Thursday so I don't know yet how HDR or whatever they cal 4K will do. Ordered a new 2TB HD today too for PC. I think I'll just let it spin four drives, 24/7

PlayOn may be the missing piece for me. Still hanging in there for the Stream+ to appear to do OTA recording for the few things there worth having.

Right now PlayOn is pretty compelling. At least I have yet to hit the delete button as I have almost immediately with Sling, DirecTV Now, and PSVue. I have quit Hulu a lot but it keeps sneaking back.

Anyway, I think PlayOn is worth a look if not a keeper.
 
  • Like
Reactions: navychop

Zookster

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 19, 2004
4,105
868
Here and Now
PlayOn is 100% legit. Pirating only happens when you illegally distribute copyrighted content without permission, and consuming such content is still a legal grey area but unethical in my view. Each PlayOn recording is clearly tagged with your name and email address, and the sources that at least I record from are either ad supported or subscription-based.

I recently dusted off my PlayOn software after PlayStation Vue dropped my local Fox affiliate a few weeks ago. Recordings are still hit and miss for me which is why I stopped using it for a year after I originally cut the cord. Unfortunately the Fox on Demand content that I get via PlayStation Vue now has commercials, which it didn't before, unless I wait a whole week. In the two PlayOn recordings of one show that I watched last night, the audio was off by a full three to four seconds from the video. This is why I would never rely on PlayOn as a long-term DVR solution for anything. It's just too frustrating. I'd rather watch commercials or pay over $120 a month for cable.
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,695
2,752
Salem, OR
Why Not? A vcr was perfectly legal
The "why not" is definitively answered by most any summary of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that, among many, many other things, prohibits making copies of copy protected digital motion picture content.

Motion pictures (including TV shows and videos) are only exempted for Fair Use purposes (short portions associated with critical review, commentary, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research). Fair Use does NOT cover recording of complete or substantially complete motion picture content.
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,695
2,752
Salem, OR
PlayOn is 100% legit.
Not when it is used as a tool for violating the law.
Pirating only happens when you illegally distribute copyrighted content without permission, and consuming such content is still a legal grey area but unethical in my view.
The DMCA extends well beyond "pirating".
Each PlayOn recording is clearly tagged with your name and email address, and the sources that at least I record from are either ad supported or subscription-based.
This may help address the piracy issue, but it doesn't address the issue of defeating digital content protection.
 

Zookster

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 19, 2004
4,105
868
Here and Now
Not when it is used as a tool for violating the law.

In that way, PlayOn isn't any less legit than any other means of accessing and recording copyrighted content, including OTA DVRs, for personal use. As someone who doesn't know much about how to share and access pirated content, I personally would have to do a lot of research to figure out how to mis-use this software in a way that would violate copyright law. Almost everything I access for recording requires content provider log-in credentials and is available via a content provider's streaming app on my Roku. I seriously doubt PlayOn would ever be targeted by content providers for enabling copyright violations like some "fully loaded Kodi boxes" have been.
 

Juan

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Sep 14, 2003
27,237
6,120
Moscow Russia
The "why not" is definitively answered by most any summary of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that, among many, many other things, prohibits making copies of copy protected digital motion picture content.

Motion pictures (including TV shows and videos) are only exempted for Fair Use purposes (short portions associated with critical review, commentary, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research). Fair Use does NOT cover recording of complete or substantially complete motion picture content.
then why were VCR's legal?

this is strictly for personal use..no distribution
 
  • Like
Reactions: xfoneguy

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,695
2,752
Salem, OR
In that way, PlayOn isn't any less legit than any other means of accessing and recording copyrighted content, including OTA DVRs, for personal use.
There's an important distinction with OTA DVRs as the content isn't copy protected.
As someone who doesn't know much about how to share and access pirated content, I personally would have to do a lot of research to figure out how to mis-use this software in a way that would violate copyright law.
You don't have to do any research. Pretty much any service they list (including YouTube) prohibits making copies.
I seriously doubt PlayOn would ever be targeted by content providers for enabling copyright violations like some "fully loaded Kodi boxes" have been.
I'm sure it is on someone's RADAR. Time will tell.

If the service has specific terms of use regarding ripping, those terms supersede any rights that might otherwise be afforded by law (hint: such law arguably doesn't exist in the digital domain).
 

Zookster

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 19, 2004
4,105
868
Here and Now
My conscience is clear. I'm not doing anything more with PlayOn than I would be with a TiVo, cable TV DVR, or OTA DVR. I really don't see the difference.

Source for the following: PlayOn Cloud lets you record and download videos from streaming services to your iPhone

"The way the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) puts it, breaking or circumventing copy protection mechanisms is what’s illegal. And PlayOn hasn’t been circumventing DRM or accessing the encrypted stream – it uses screen capturing technology instead. This keeps it on the legal side by following the letter of the law, if not the spirit."

Source for the following: What Is the PlayOn Streaming DVR and Is It Legal?

"Is PlayOn Legal?
The burning question regarding PlayOn is whether any of this is legal. How can a company allow you to access paid services and record them? Aren’t individuals getting into trouble for this? After all, the RIAA recently shut down a YouTube to MP3 conversion website.

On the surface, what it looks like PlayOn is engaging in is a form of what’s known as “stream-ripping.”

Given the legal minefield that exists when it comes to stream ripping, PlayOn provides a somewhat brief, although case-law heavy explanation regarding why their service is legal. The company cites several legal cases to prove their main point: because PlayOn is a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) and DVR services have been deemed legal, their service is also fully legal.

PlayOn is similar to TiVo
In their blog, PlayOn compares themselves to the well-known DVR service TiVo. They cite several cases in which recordings of broadcast television made for “personal, non-commercial use” have been rendered legal under the Fair Use doctrine. Additionally, PlayOn notes that “[r]ecording programs for viewing at a more convenient time is permitted by United States copyright law as fair use.”

PlayOn emphasizes the fact that its business is essentially “place-shifting.” Place-shifting the process of accessing content you have a right to access from another device or another location.

Because you have to secure the legal right to content before you download it with PlayOn, PlayOn is technically not a stream-ripper. Although it does allow users to record the shows, PlayOn embeds user information into the downloaded MP4 files to help keep the user honest and to help easily identify videos a user might try to reshare illegally.

....

Is PlayOn’s AdSkip service legal?
PlayOn also offers an ad-skipping service for paid subscribers to their PlayOn Desktop. While this service is fully legal, it may not make streaming services very happy. Both Hulu and CBS All Access have ads. PlayOn allows users to skip these ads.

The courts concluded that ad skipping services are legal back in 2013, when ABC lost a bidto stop Dish Network from deploying the ad-skipping service that the company uses for its DVR service.

...
PlayOn makes a compelling case for its legality on its blog. It is true that well-known DVR services like TiVo offer similar services compared to PlayOn. Plus, “place-shifting” has been ruled legal for some time now. Although PlayOn lets users skip advertisements, ad-skipping is considered legal as well and does not infringe on any copyrights or other laws currently on the books."​
 
  • Like
Reactions: primestar31

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,695
2,752
Salem, OR
My conscience is clear. I'm not doing anything more with PlayOn than I would be with a TiVo, cable TV DVR, or OTA DVR.
That you're doing it in violation of the terms of use of the pay TV service and the DMCA is the main difference.

We need to agree to leave OTA sourced content out of this discussion as it doesn't apply to PlayOn.
I really don't see the difference.
You would if you looked at it from the standpoint of the fact that you can't make copies of flagged TiVo or Pay TV DVR content. TiVos will store a copy of an HBO movie on the TiVo but your options are keeping it or deleting it when it bears a no-copy flag. You can't move it to your computer or a media player or any number of storage devices.
"The way the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) puts it, breaking or circumventing copy protection mechanisms is what’s illegal. And PlayOn hasn’t been circumventing DRM or accessing the encrypted stream – it uses screen capturing technology instead. This keeps it on the legal side by following the letter of the law, if not the spirit."
That's like claiming that you set a trip wire to pull the trigger rather than using your finger in executing a murder.

Either way, you've made a copy of copy protected content that is in violation of your agreement with the video source and the DMCA.

Just because you pay for one level of service doesn't allow you to annex any of the other levels of service through black hat methods. To put whipped cream on top of it all, PlayOn suggests that you use free previews to obtain the content you want to support some of their claims of getting content for free.
 

raoul5788

Studebaker driver
Staff member
HERE TO HELP YOU!
Supporting Founder
Lifetime Supporter
Dec 28, 2004
30,445
14,098
Cheshire CT
That you're doing it in violation of the terms of use of the pay TV service and the DMCA is the main difference.

We need to agree to leave OTA sourced content out of this discussion as it doesn't apply to PlayOn.You would if you looked at it from the standpoint of the fact that you can't make copies of flagged TiVo or Pay TV DVR content. TiVos will store a copy of an HBO movie on the TiVo but your options are keeping it or deleting it when it bears a no-copy flag. You can't move it to your computer or a media player or any number of storage devices.That's like claiming that you set a trip wire to pull the trigger rather than using your finger in executing a murder.

Either way, you've made a copy of copy protected content that is in violation of your agreement with the video source and the DMCA.

Just because you pay for one level of service doesn't allow you to annex any of the other levels of service through black hat methods. To put whipped cream on top of it all, PlayOn suggests that you use free previews to obtain the content you want to support some of their claims of getting content for free.
Why leave it out? If Aereo was shut down for not paying copyright fees, then ota digital signals are copyright protected. So says the Supreme Court. You just said they aren't.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Zookster

Zookster

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 19, 2004
4,105
868
Here and Now
I do now see how it could be interpreted that PlayOn is in violation of the DMCA with its recording technology. However, the company has been around since 2008, and the recording capability was introduced in 2011, and they have yet to be sued, even though big players like Netflix are aware of what PlayOn does and aren't happy about it.

Last year, Netflix director of corporate communications Cliff Edwards told Tom’s Guide that downloading videos was a “clear violation of the terms of service,” and that Netflix’s “licensing agreements don’t allow companies [such as PlayOn] to facilitate these types of uses.”

Still, violating a terms of service agreement isn’t the same as breaking the law, and PlayOn has long maintained that users are just exercising the same rights they had with VCRs. The fact that PlayOn wasn’t sued into oblivion after launching its first recording features four years ago seems to bear out that claim.

Source: Catching up with PlayOn, the DVR for streaming video

The linked article in the above quote offers a very balanced analysis of the issue. Here are the TL;DR take-aways (note "PlayLater" is the name of PlayOn's DVR function)

Until the Supreme Court determines exactly what constitutes fair use for time-shifting and device-shifting, consumers have a lot of leeway with how they consume content online.

My ultimate goal was to answer one simple question: Can you record licensed content with PlayLater for personal use? Netflix says no. PlayLater says yes. The legal experts say maybe.

Source: Legal? PlayLater Lets You Record All of Netflix for $20

In other words, until a major court decision specifically addresses the issue of whether or not recording streaming online video content for personal use constitutes fair-use (like recording with a set-top box DVR), the legality of PlayOn's recording technology remains a gray area of the law.

I personally see no reason to feel any more guilty of some ethical violation for using PlayOn to record from network TV websites than I do for using Playstation Vue's cloud-based DVR, which allows me to watch any show it streams on any device at my leisure, with the ability to fast-forward past commercials.
 

Pete K

SatelliteGuys Pro
Nov 5, 2007
156
3
I purchased a lifetime subscription to PlayOn 5 years ago. It's not perfect. I've dealt with a few glitches but it is ideal for recording.
 
  • Like
Reactions: xfoneguy

Users who are viewing this thread

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Total: 0, Members: 0, Guests: 0)

Latest posts

Top