PlayOn Cloud offers mobile offline viewing for Netflix, Hulu and more

PlayOn Cloud is available for iOS. An Android app is coming soon. Image: PlayOn

PlayOn, a streaming video recorder (SVR) service, announced PlayOn Cloud and an iOS app, which will allow users to record SVOD content and access it offline via a mobile device.

Services available for recording include Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu, Yahoo! View, HBO Now, YouTube, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, PBS and The CW. The app is a free download but recordings of a show or movie require the purchase of a credit, which PlayOn sells for 99 cents.

PlayOn has offered mobile apps for some time but those were companions to its original PlayOn service, which requires an account to be tethered to a PC for storage. With the new PlayOn Cloud app and service, the company has removed PC ownership from the equation.

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PlayOn Cloud stores recordings in the cloud for 30 days and adds functions like skipping commercials. In addition to the iOS app, PlayOn said it has an Android app in development.

“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," said PlayOn CEO Jeff Lawrence in a statement.

Of course, the big question is whether recording and storing SVOD content for later is legal. PlayOn insists that it is. In a blog post, the company said that its service amounts to a DVR and that DVR use is protected as fair use by U.S. copyright law. As for PlayOn Cloud, the company cited the Cartoon Network vs. Cablevision decision from 2008, which proved it legal for consumers to make recordings and store them remotely. Further, PlayOn said its PlayOn Cloud app is essentially the same as apps from TiVo and Dish that allow for users to access DVR recordings on a mobile device.

SVOD services may see it differently. Speaking with Tom’s Guide last year, Cliff Edwards, director of corporate communications and technology at Netflix, said that services like PlayOn clearly violate Netflix’s terms of service and that Netflix’s licensing agreements with media companies don’t allow for that type of recording and remote playback.

Still, PlayOn seems to be on the right side of legal precedent, even if SVOD services don’t like it.

“We have not run into any resistance to PlayOn cloud from SVOD services or regulators,” a PlayOn spokesperson told FierceOnlineVideo.

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