One of the main features people want with Google TV, but think they can’t have, is the ability to watch Hulu on their Google TV. This is turning out to be a bit of an urban legend, as I’m streaming Bob’s Burgers on Google TV with Hulu right now as I write this article!
While it’s true that you can’t watch Hulu on Google TV right out of the box, and the old “User Agent” trick doesn’t work any more (thanks for fixing that Hulu), it’s still rather easy to get Hulu to stream to your Google TV by installing nifty little thing called PlayOn (a DLNA media server) on your home computer. Don’t worry, it’s a lot simpler than it sounds and you don’t have to be an uber tech geek to set it up!
Before I tell you the 5 easy steps to getting Hulu on your Google TV, let me share some of the good and bad about this software, so you will know exactly what to expect.
The Good Stuff
While Hulu is the main reason a lot of you will want to do this, there are a few more awesome perks you’ll get from setting up PlayOn:
Hulu Web Exclusive Content. When streaming Hulu to your Google TV using PlayOn, it’s just like you’re on a computer as far as Hulu is concerned, and none of the “web only” content is blocked. This is a big advantage to other methods of watching Hulu on your TV, as Hulu blocks a lot of good content from your living room big screen when using a PlayStation, Xbox, or other set top box for watching.
Stream movies, pictures and music from your hard drive. Enabling the “My Media” option in PlayOn allows you to stream media content from your home computer to your Google TV. While I find the picture and music streaming a bit lacking (it is still in beta) the video streaming is excellent and it’s great to be able to watch all my downloaded movies and shows on my Google TV!
Streams To Multiple Devices. Not only can you stream Hulu and other internet television to your Google TV using PlayOn, you can also stream it to your smartphone or game console! Being able to stream Nick Cartoons or PBS kids to my Android phone is priceless to me when I’m out somewhere with the kids and need to keep them occupied.
Sports. There are a few sports channels you can stream using PlayOn, including MLB and NFL Game Rewind. The two I mentioned require subscriptions, but are probably worth it to a sports fan wanting to finally cut the cut the cord on cable tv.
Plugins and Scripts. A really great thing with PlayOn is that there are a lot of people creating plugins and scripts to add more options and content to your PlayOn experience. A quick Google search will find several communities of people sharing PlayOn scripts and plugins.
Nothing is perfect, so I here are a couple of things about PlayOn that might annoy you.
Button Navigation. When using PlayOn with my Logitech Revue, I have to use the touchpad to navigate the menus in PlayOn. The navigational buttons on the Revue keyboard do not work with PlayOn. It’s a bit of an annoyance to me, but my wife is more apt to use the touchpad anyways. This one I think will be a matter of personal preference as to how big of a drawback this is to you.
The Interface. While it’s great to have Hulu on your Google TV, the PlayOn interface is not as slick and smooth as the interface you would see when using Hulu on a PS3 or Xbox. Instead of the sleek Hulu interface with video preview and descriptions, PlayOn is more like browsing through a folder system. While a bit annoying, this is not a game breaker for me as watching the video is more important in my book than browsing for it.
PlayOn rocks. It adds a lot of functionality to Google TV and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who want’s to be able to stream Hulu to their Google TV. I’d buy it just for Hulu alone, all the other cool stuff it does just sweetens the pot.
So, are you ready to get started watching Hulu on your Google TV? Here’s how:
1) Download PlayOn to your computer and install (affiliate link to 30 day free trial below).
2) If PlayOn doesn’t start automatically, click your desktop icon to start it running, the settings window will open. In this window click on the “Channels” tab. In the channels tab is where you put in your passwords for Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, etc. (don’t forget to apply your settings)
3) If you want to stream media from your computer hard drive using PlayOn, you’ll need to click on the “My Media” tab. In this tab just tick the “Enable” box on the bottom, click the add button to add the directories you want stream from and you’re done.
4) From your Google TV home, push the Search button to bring up the URL entry/search box. Go to:
5) Now you’re on the PlayOn home page for Google TV and have access to Hulu and lots of other content! Push the “Star” key on your keyboard to add a bookmark to your Google TV home for one-click navigation to PlayOn content. All done!