Software developer MediaMall Technologies is claiming PlayLater -- an application released this week that turns a Windows PC into a digital video recorder for online video -- is 100% legal, akin to conventional DVRs.
"PlayLater is a legal technology that is designed to let individuals watch legal online content at a time of their choosing," MediaMall said in a statement posted on its website. "Just like the broadcast DVR and the VCR before it, PlayLater is designed for personal use and convenience."
The software can record streaming video from about three dozen Internet services, including YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, BET, Cartoon Network, CBS, CNN, Comedy Central, ESPN and ESPN3, Fox News, MTV, National Geographic, Nick, OWN, PBS and PBS Kids, Syfy Rewind, TBS and TV.com.
With Internet streaming video, content owners typically force users to sit through ads -- they can't be skipped. With the PlayLater DVR software, however, ads can be fast-forwarded through just like on TV.
PlayLater requires users to install MediaMall's PlayOn application, designed for viewing online video on TVs. Currently PlayLater is available as a free "preview release." When it's officially released, the service will be $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year. According to MediaMall, PlayLater users do not have to pay for the PlayOn service (normally $4.99 per month, $39.99 per year or a one-time charge of $79.99).
The PlayLater software records shows streamed over the Internet in real-time, just like a conventional DVR, and users must play them back using Microsoft Windows Media Player.
The size of the recordings will vary in size. According to MediaMall, a standard sitcom (about 22 minutes of video) will require around 500 Megabytes. A one-hour show (45 minutes of video) would require 1 Gigabyte and a typical 90-minute movie would weigh in at about 2 GB.
MediaMall recommends users have an Internet broadband connection of at least 1.5 Mbps.
The PlayLater software requires Microsoft Windows XP (Service Pack 2 or later), Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows Server 2003/Windows Home Server (Service Pack 1 or later), as well as Internet Explorer 7 or later and Windows Media Player 9 or later. MediaMall recommends PCs with Pentium 4 3.2+ GHz processors or faster, 512 MB of RAM (1 GB recommended) and 100 MB of available disk space for installation plus 4 to 5 GB extra space for recorded videos.
Programs recorded with PlayLater are playable only on the PC used to record them.