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New DVR Service Records Online Streaming

3 Oct, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

PlayLater allows users to record online video streams and watch them on demand on a connected television

A new service has launched that allows users to record streams from select online channels, including Netflix and Hulu, and watch them on demand on the TV.

Dubbed PlayLater.tv, the software costs $4.95 a month, $39.99 a year or a one-time fee of $79.99, and can be downloaded to a PC (but not a Mac). A free 14-day trial is available to new users.

With myriad online programing available on demand, PlayLater targets users with limited or no Internet connection, including business travelers, commuters or households with bandwidth restrictions.

Recorded streams (about 1GB per hour to the PC hard drive) can only be played back via the original PC or networked device using Windows Media — a strategy aimed at thwarting piracy and placating content holders, according to CEO Jeff Lawrence.

Plans including allowing users in the future to migrate recorded streams to the iPad, iPhone or related connected device.

“[It’s] the online DVR for the future,” Lawrence said in a Beet.tv interview. “Anything you can watch on the Web with a browser you can now record and play later.”

Available channels include Amazon Video, CBS, Comedy Central, TBS, Syfy, adult swim, Spike, BET, CNN, Fox News, PBS, YouTube, ESPN, Hulu and Netflix, among others.

It remains to be seen how services like Netflix respond to subscribers recording their content for later playback.

“It’s pretty much anything you can watch on the Web, video-wise,” Lawrence said. “We hope it will become a household name like TiVo.”

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