It looks like Netflix won’t be officially offering offline playback anytime soon — at least in the U.S. — but that doesn’t mean someone else isn’t working on it. This week, MediaMall launched PlayOn Cloud, a service that records video from Netflix, HBO Now, and others, allowing them to be viewed offline on a mobile device.
The company refers to PlayOn Cloud as “a DVR for streaming video,” and that is the easiest way to think about it. The app keeps a copy of the recording in the cloud for 30 days, allowing it to be downloaded to the device of your choice. The app even includes AdSkip technology, similar to what DVR progenitor TiVo offers.
“The PlayOn Cloud iOS app takes our revolutionary Streaming Video Recorder to the next level and untethers it from the PC,” PlayOn’s president and CEO, Jeff Lawrence, said in a statement. “We are now offering streamers something they’ve always wanted — a way to watch their favorite streaming programming on their mobile device when no internet is available. This is a game changer for commuters, travelers, users with mobile data caps, and those who don’t want to miss movies and TV shows when they expire from streaming services.”
Whether or not PlayOn Cloud is for you likely depends on how often you watch video where a reliable connection isn’t available. In our time with a beta version of the app, the user interface felt slightly clunky, and often wasn’t as intuitive as the actual streaming services’ interfaces. Then there’s the issue of cost.
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In order to record, you’ll need to purchase recording credits, with each credit costing $1. Each credit allows you to record one movie or episode of a TV show, but if you’re planning on recording a lot, this could quickly add up.
The PlayOn Cloud app is currently only available for iOS devices, and is a free download in the App Store. PlayOn is currently running a promotion, with anyone who downloads the app and creates an account before November 13 getting five free recording credits.