One common problem for the cord cutters is how to integrate XBMC, Netflix, Hulu and other premium content channels. In this practical guide, you will learn how to seamlessly use Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, Amazon VOD, Pandora and more with XBMC Media Center.
I will also reveal an easy way to get Netflix and Hulu working with the XBMC running on Linux-based computers such as OpenELEC HTPC and Raspberry Pi which has not been widely known before.
For Windows users, there are various ways to get premium content channels working through their websites or Windows apps, but if you are using a Linux-based home theater computer such as OpenELEC HTPC or Raspberry Pi, there is no direct way to get Netflix or Hulu working.
However, there has been a solution available for years that you might not have come across yet. The solution is to turn your Windows-based PC into a media server with software called PlayOn Media Server that allows you to stream premium content channels into XBMC running on any operating system.
PlayOn Media Server is a unique software that runs in the background on your Windows-based PC over your home network.
PlayOn uses UPnP standard to serve videos to UPnP compliant devices such as networked gaming consoles and TVs. As the XBMC Media Center supports UPnP standard, you can serve media files with PlayOn Media Server even to Linux-based HTPCs or Raspberry Pis.
The software costs about $40 (one time fee) and you will get access to your favorite TV shows, movies and sports from Hulu, Netflix, ESPN, CNN, CBS, Amazon VOD, HBO Go and more. You can also bundle PlayOn with a PlayLater service which allows you to record any Netflix, Hulu etc. video and watch it later on any device.
What is also great with PlayOn that you do not need to pay for Hulu Plus subscription, but you will still have access to all Hulu channels on any device.
|Tip!||You can access Netflix & Hulu from any country with a great DNS
redirection tool called UnblockUS. Try UnblockUS for free here.
PlayOn runs in the background on your Windows-based PC over your home network. It uses standards called UPnP and DLNA to communicate with networked gaming consoles, TVs, mobile phones and computers working both as an internet browser to access online media and as a UPnP media server to serve videos to UPnP compliant devices.
I am currently using PlayOn with XBMC on three different devices, OpenELEC based HTPC, Raspberry Pi and Windows 8 based HTPC. I have been very satisfied with this software and thus recommend it to all My Media Experience readers.
Just keep in mind that PlayOn’s transcoding video quality is slightly worse than the original source. It is not too bad, but it is a step down especially with dark areas and shadows.
Just buy and download PlayOn and install it to your Windows-based computer.
In order to register your copy, open PlayOn Settings (Go to Start > All Programs > PlayOn > PlayOn Settings) and enter the license information on the Registration tab.
Next, set up the PlayOn UPnP share on the XBMC, by going to Videos menu in the XBMC.
Select Files > Add Videos… > Browse > UPnP Devices > PlayOn (your computer name) and click OK.
Now, you are ready to browse the large collection of premium content and play your first TV show or movie.
If you want to really integrate your favorite TV shows and movies into XBMC library, you will need to use XBMC.MyLibrary plugin together with the PlayOn.
Before you get started, add Netflix and Hulu as a separate UPnP source in the XBMC Videos menu. For example, to add Netflix as a separate source, select Files > Add Videos… > Browse > UPnP Devices > PlayOn (your computer name) > Netflix and click OK.
Next, complete the following steps on the Windows-based PC that is also running the PlayOn Media Server.
Configuration example for Netflix:
Configuration example for Hulu:
4. Make sure that the XBMC application is running (either the same Windows-based PC or a separate HTPC in the home network)
5. Go back to the XBMC.MyLibrary folder in the Windows Explorer and run the .cmd script with the line “%ProgramFiles%\Java\jre7\bin\java.exe” -jar “XBMC.MyLibrary.jar”, where “jre7″ is the latest Java version
6. Add TV Shows, Music Videos and Movies folders as sources in the XBMC and update the media library
The following video will make it easier for you to follow these steps in practice to integrate XBMC, Netflix and Hulu into your media library.
Lastly, you should consider using a Windows task scheduler to run the XBMC.MyLibrary script regularly to keep your stream links and content up to date. You can launch the task scheduler at the command prompt by typing Taskschd.msc.
A lifetime PlayOn subscription can cost less than a month’s worth of cable, so what are you waiting for? Join the cord cutters by buying and downloading PlayOn here.Learn anything? Please share!