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Setup - PlayOn

If you want access to the more compelling content that the EVA2000 can play (Hulu, Netflix, Amazon VOD, CBS), you'll need to install the PlayOn media server on a Windows PC.  This software turns your PC into a media server which, in turn connects to the Internet to stream content from Hulu, your NetFlix account and other services. 

You can try out a trial version of the software for 14 days to ensure that your computer has enough horsepower to act as a media server.  If you want to continue access after the trial period is up, then it'll cost you $39.99 (one time fee) to license the PlayOn software.  (Though it’s not well documented, EVA2000 owners can get a $10 discount by typing “NETGEAR” in the promo code box when purchasing a license.)

Figure 6 shows the General tab of the PlayOn control panel where you set video performance levels and start/stop the server.

PlayOn control panel general settings

Figure 6: PlayOn control panel general settings

It’s a good idea to perform the system checks show in Figure 7 available in the System Check tab.  I initially performed this test on my old Pentium IV desktop, and the performance was rated as low.  Granted, the system was slightly below the minimum 3.2 GHz processor speed requirement, but I tried it anyway.   Not unexpectedly, the performance of Hulu was poor, and I couldn’t even connect to NetFlix. 

PlayOn System Check

Figure 7: PlayOn System Check

During these tests the CPU utilization for the PlayOn server was about 50%, but at times it peaked at over 90%. This told me that it was time for a new computer. All it took was money, and now PlayOn runs flawlessly on my new quad-core Windows 7 64 bit system with CPU utilization while streaming running about 10-12%.

You can add additional content for the PlayOn server from the PlayOn Plugin site. Though not officially supported by the MediaMall, the plugins I download and installed for MTV and CSPAN seemed to work properly.

In order to access Netflix, Amazon VOD and Hulu, you have to enter your user name/password in the User Accounts tab shown in Figure 8.  For each account, you can test your credentials to confirm that the PlayOn server can access your accounts.

PlayOn User Accounts

Figure 8: PlayOn User Accounts

Currently, there’s a beta feature that allows you to share your local media with your EVA2000 using the PlayOn server.  You merely add directories, including those on network shares, if you wish, as shown in Figure 9. 

PlayOn settings for sharing local media with the EVA2000

Figure 9: PlayOn settings for sharing local media with the EVA2000

I tested this, and even though it’s “beta”, was able play music and videos and view photos on my computer without a problem.  With Windows 7, however, you don’t really need to use this feature, since it’s built into the operating system.

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