PlayOn adds local media playback, brings .avi & .mkv support to the Moxi HD DVR

mediamalllogo-1I’m so excited. MediaMall has updated its DLNA software, PlayOn, to support local network media playback within the app. The streaming app was always a solid way to playback Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube on any DLNA device like the Archos devices, the PS3, Xbox 360 and so many others. In fact, this was Digeo’s solution to bring Internet media to the Moxi HD DVR. However, the app never supported playing back content off of the local network which means users had to also run TVersity or TwonkyMedia. Now, PlayOn can do it all.

But that’s not why I’m excited. I’m stoked that this update finally, finally brings .avi and .mkv support to the Moxi HD DVR. If you’ve followed my coverage of the TiVo-competitor, you should know that the lack of support of those file extensions was one of my biggest complaints against the DVR. But MediaMall has stepped up where Digeo dropped the ball.

So far I have played around with the updated feature – that also happens to be in beta mode – for a few minutes on the Moxi HD DVR and it seems to work as advertised – both .avi and .mkv files play. I have always ran DLNA services including TVersity and the previous version of PlayOn off of a Windows Home Server, but this time around, the Intel Atom-powered CPU didn’t have enough juice to transcode and stream the files without lagging a bit. I’ve chalked the performance issues up to the software still being in beta for now. The service ran just fine on my quad core desktop though. I didn’t have any issues at all.

What’s so strange about this feature suddenly being available on the Moxi HD DVR is that I tried almost every DLNA software listed here before chatting with Digeo only to find out that it couldn’t be done. The first couple of techs and reps I spoke with told me it had something to do with the Broadcom chip used in the DVR not liking those file types, and the CEO later explained he personally had choose to focus on other areas of development before fixing that issue.

All that matters now is that the Moxi HD DVR can finally playback all the content stored on a local network, which is a huge step in the right direction. The DVR still has major issues to address, but I finally feel confident enough because of this feature alone to upgrade my recommendation from “Wait until the bugs are worked out” to “Buy if you’re okay with the $799 price and lack of ATSC tuner.”

PlayOn is normally $39.99, but it can be had for only $19.99 until June 31 with the coupon code PLAYON1999. Also, MediaMall is allowing everyone to try the software for 14-days for free – even those that have tried it before.