The PlayOn Kodi addon allows you to stream movies and TV shows from popular websites like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO Now. It also allows you to legally record programs from these services and store them on your hard-drive, even if you later cancel the service. Here’s everything you need to know about how to install and use the PlayOn addon.
What is Kodi?
Kodi is a free software media player. Like other media players, it can be used to play video or audio files stored on your device. Kodi can also run apps called “addons” that allow you to stream video from the Internet. This makes it have some characteristics similar to Roku or Amazon Fire TV software except that it isn’t a commercial product. Kodi is developed by a non-profit technology organization and its addons are created by a community of users.
Kodi can be installed on an Amazon Fire TV, Fire Stick, Apple TV models 2-4, PC, Mac, or Android or iOS smartphone. It is sometimes accused of being a tool for piracy. However, there are many legal uses for Kodi, including the PlayOn addon discussed here.
Why a VPN should always be used with Kodi
People often think of virtual private networks (VPNs) solely as a way to hide illicit activities, including streaming video from unlicensed sources. However, there are very good reasons why all people who stream video should use a VPN, regardless of the legal status of the content they are watching.
Current “net-neutrality” rules do not always prevent ISPs from throttling the speeds of websites that hog too much bandwidth, including video-streaming sites. If your ISP decides to throttle a site that you are watching, this can lead to a poor viewing experience. A VPN helps to prevent this because it hides from your ISP the knowledge of what site you are streaming from. A VPN also helps to prevent hackers from intercepting your data and using it to snoop on you.
Unfortunately, not all VPNs are effective. Some keeps logs of users’ behaviour, creating data that can be stolen. Others are too slow to play high-def video. Still others don’t have apps for popular TV devices.
We recommend IPVanish for Kodi users. It has over 950 servers in 60 countries, keeping speeds high and reducing buffering. It has an app for both Amazon Fire TV and Nvidia Shield. IPVanish does not keep logs.
Warning: Kodi should only be used for content to which you have the legal right to access. Neither the Kodi Foundation nor Comparitech advocates the use of Kodi for piracy.
How to install and setup the PlayOn Kodi addon
In order to install the PlayOn addon, you first need to have a subscription to PlayOn. It’s free for 7 days with this link and then $30/year after that. Once you’ve subscribed, follow these steps to install it:
- Login and go to this url to download the PlayOn software: https://www.playon.tv/getplayon
- Run the file and click the box saying you agree to the terms and conditions
- Click install. It may take several minutes for the software to finish installing
- Push the launch button. The PlayOn software will load
- From the PlayOn main menu, click the gear icon in the lower-left corner of the screen. It will take a few seconds for the settings menu to load
- Click the “channels” tab
- For each service that you have a subscription to, enter your login info into the box provided. If you are not sure that you’ve remembered your login correctly, you can click test to get PlayOn to test it for you. Many of the services also have links to free trials if you don’t yet have a subscription
- When you’re done entering login info, click OK.
- This completes the non-Kodi part of the installation and setup. You can now close the PlayOn software if you prefer
- From the Kodi main menu, click addons
- Click download
- Select video addons
- Scroll down the list and select PlayOn Browser
- Click install
- When the addon finishes installing, select PlayOn Browser again. A list of channels will appear
- Scroll down to a channel that you previously setup using the PlayOn software. Click the channel to open the main menu for that channel
- Select whatever video you want to watch. It will begin playing.
That’s all there is to installing and setting up the PlayOn Kodi addon to watch movies and shows.
SEE ALSO: The best 105 addons for Kodi
How to record shows and movies using PlayOn
To record a program so that you can keep it forever, follow these instructions.
- Load the PlayOn software
- Click the “channels” tab
- Click on a channel that has a program you want to record
- Navigate to the movie or particular episode of a show you want to record
- Move your cursor over the episode or movie. You’ll see three icons to the right of the program’s description. These icons stand for play, cast, and record
- Click the “record” icon on the very right (the icon that looks like a “record” button on a tape deck). The episode or movie will begin recording, and the “record queue” icon in the upper-right corner of the screen will turn red with a white light spinning around it
- When the recording is finished, open Kodi and navigate to the main menu of the PlayOn Kodi addon
- Click PlayOn recordings. You’ll see your recording listed there, although it may be in a folder that PlayOn has created to help you keep all of your recordings organized
- Click the episode or movie to play it and verify that it has been recorded
Recording programs uses up a lot of resources, and it’s a bit buggy. Sometimes, programs will not record correctly and you’ll have to start over. I would recommend setting programs to record only when you’re not actively using your device. In addition, you should always test the videos afterwards to make sure there was not an error.
Related article: The best keyboards for Kodi
How to use a browser with PlayOn to bookmark or record videos
PlayOn has a browser addon for Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer that allows you to bookmark videos to record or watch later. Here’s how to install and use it.
- Open the PlayOn software and click the gear icon at the bottom of the screen. This will open the PlayOn settings screen.
- Click the “browsers” tab
- Under “browser integration,” put a check in the box for whatever browsers you use.
- Click apply. Make sure you’ve closed out all of your browsers before you do this
- Open one of the browsers you want to use, such as Chrome or Firefox. You should get a message telling you that a new extension has been installed and asking you if you want to keep it. Click the button that says you want to keep the extension
- Using your web-browser, navigate to a video on Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, or some other service that’s compatible with PlayOn
- Begin playing the video, then click the PlayOn icon in the upper-right corner of the screen. A popup window will appear
- Check the video in the window to make sure that it’s playing correctly. If it is, click PlayMark to flag it for watching later or Record to go ahead and record it
Read more: What to do if Kodi keeps restarting
Services that work with PlayOn
Here is a full list of the services that work with the PlayOn Kodi addon and PlayOn itself:
|Netflix||Hulu||Yahoo View||Amazon video|
|Vudu||Xfinity||Spectrum||Time Warner Cable|
|Charter||Brighthouse Networks||DirecTV Now||HBO Now|
|HBO Go||HBO Now||Max Go||Showtime|
|FOX||PBS||The CW||CW Seed|
|SyFy Now||USA Network||Freeform||TNT Drama|
|National Geographic||PBS Kids||Sprout||ESPN|
|ESPN3||ESPN ACC Network Extra||NFL Game Pass||MLB Network|
|NHL.com||NBA League Pass||WWE.com||NBC Sports Live Extra|
|Fox News||Fox Business||CNBC||CBS News|
In my own testing, I found that Crackle videos would not record no matter how many times I tried, but Netflix ones did just fine.
The PlayOn Kodi addon is very useful for getting access to both free and subscription-based services that don’t have Kodi addons of their own, like Hulu, HBO Now, etc. But it does have the one big drawback that it costs extra money when you’re already paying for a subscription to some of these these services in the first place. It would be nice if these services had their own Kodi addons so that PlayOn would not be necessary for this purpose.
Still, PlayOn does allow you to subscribe to a site for one month and record an entire series. This can save you significant amounts of money from subscription fees under the right circumstance. For example, by watching one episode of The Vampire Diaries each day, you can finish the entire series in 6 months at a cost of $65.94 in Netflix subscription fees. Or you can sign up for PlayOn for one year ($30) and Netflix for one month ($10.99), record the whole series and watch it at your leisure for a total cost of $40.99.
Considering this advantage, some users may find PlayOn to be worth the extra $30 even if dedicated Kodi addons for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and others are eventually developed.
If you’ve found this guide to the PlayOn Kodi addon useful, you may want to check out some of our other Kodi guides, including How to install YouTube for Kodi, How to Install Pluto.tv for Kodi, and The 15 best Kodi Skins.