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Old 2011-03-10, 01:15 AM   #1
m3t4lw01f
 
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Default Accessing Hulu/US Netflix from Canada with PlayOn/TubeCore in WMC

Since this is kind of a special case scenario that I haven't read about too many people using, I thought I'd start a new thread.

I am using Windows 7 with Media Center, XBOX360 Extenders, a PlayOn media server, and TubeCore to access PlayOn inside media center both on the mce machine and on the extenders.

It works flawlessly for anything that we have access to by default in Canada.

So, step 2 was to try and get access to Hulu/US Netflix.

I tried both A DNS redirection service and A L2TP VPN Service). Both services work fine when accessing Hulu/US Netflix in a browser. When trying to access them in PlayOn (Both directly on my DLNA client (An XBOX360) and in TubeCore in MCE) Hulu fails with a message saying that it's only available inside the US. Netflix seemed to work fine, however.

After hunting some more, it turns out that PlayOn is actually responsible for this blocking. They're using a service to detect proxy/vpn/redirection tricks. The solution is to add the following to your hosts (C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\) file:

127.0.0.1 j.maxmind.com
127.0.0.1 maxmind.com

Once you do that, bingo. Hulu access via PlayOn.

I won't get in to my disappointment with PlayOn for adding that blocking in their software, as this thread isn't about that end of things, only the technical details to get it working.
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Old 2011-03-10, 02:10 PM   #2
bdoyledimou
 
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I haven't had any problem with Hulu and Playon
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Old 2011-03-10, 08:57 PM   #3
audacity
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So I gave PlayOn a shot last night (thanks for the suggestion).

I'm not sure if this is due to my HTPC being a little weak (Phenom), but when using Hulu on my XBOX via PlayOn the video quality is substantially worse than watching the same Hulu video directly in Flash on a PC. I figured that a quad-core processor (even though it's no speed king) would be sufficient to do the real time transcoding, but I could be wrong about that.
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Old 2011-03-10, 11:16 PM   #4
m3t4lw01f
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DancesWithLysol View Post
So I gave PlayOn a shot last night (thanks for the suggestion).

I'm not sure if this is due to my HTPC being a little weak (Phenom), but when using Hulu on my XBOX via PlayOn the video quality is substantially worse than watching the same Hulu video directly in Flash on a PC. I figured that a quad-core processor (even though it's no speed king) would be sufficient to do the real time transcoding, but I could be wrong about that.
I've noticed this as well and my processor is a 6-core Phenom II 3GHz.

I don't know, but I have a feeling that PlayOn is reducing the bitrate perhaps more than it needs to just to ensure smooth playback when transcoding.

I have a few 720p MKV's that my machine transcodes for my xbox360 and they look absolutely amazing so I definitely think it's something to do with PlayOn. Who knows, maybe it's just the fact that it's "legal big media content" and they don't want it to be as good quality through PlayOn since you can get it on your TV? (Conspiracy theory there!)
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Old 2011-03-10, 11:45 PM   #5
m3t4lw01f
 
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Did some more reading and PlayOn pretty much maxxes out at 480p for any online video.

If you go into PlayOn Settings though, and change the 'Video Performance' setting to Max (instead of Auto) it does seem to do a better job. Also, if you're using TubeCore for Media Center/Extender access, in it's settings you can select to have PlayOn stream to WMV instead of MPEG2 and it cleans it up a bit (Well, that's my perception of it anyhow) as I think that WMV format is MPEG4 so there's better quality in the same bitrate.

Both worth a shot to increase your video quality.
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Old 2011-03-12, 08:20 PM   #6
j0dest3r
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I will have to try this PlayOn thing it sounds interesting. Last night I got Netflix US working in the Nextflix app on Windows Media Center. Ironically you cant use paypal to register, it rejects it as a Canadian account. A Canadian credit card and a boguss U.S. address worked fine tough. I am using a US DNS to get around the geolocking. Video quality seems good. I had the US DNS service free for a week and then they extended it for another week after emailing me asking about how the trial went. The Internet TV stuff in 7MC works nicely with this setup as well.

Last edited by j0dest3r; 2011-03-12 at 08:27 PM. Reason: getting rid of the *****'s
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Old 2011-03-14, 10:37 AM   #7
m3t4lw01f
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j0dest3r View Post
I will have to try this PlayOn thing it sounds interesting. Last night I got Netflix US working in the Nextflix app on Windows Media Center. Ironically you cant use paypal to register, it rejects it as a Canadian account. A Canadian credit card and a boguss U.S. address worked fine tough. I am using a US DNS to get around the geolocking. Video quality seems good. I had the US DNS service free for a week and then they extended it for another week after emailing me asking about how the trial went. The Internet TV stuff in 7MC works nicely with this setup as well.
Here's a question: Is there an alternative to the "DNS Masking Utility that cannot be named" that works the same way?

I like how that works since you're not losing any bandwidth to a VPN, but I don't like supporting spammer operations. If there were another service that did the same thing I'd give it a whirl.

Anyone know?
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Old 2011-03-31, 10:21 AM   #8
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can you install the PlayOn streamer on your WMC box, effectively streaming it to itself? I would like to get NetFlix inside the WMC interface
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Old 2011-03-31, 03:33 PM   #9
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what do you mean you don't like supporting spammers? us vid has a rep as being spammers?
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Old 2011-03-31, 05:03 PM   #10
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I've tested PlayOn as well, and note that it has video quality degradation as well. In their forums, they say they've been testing HD transcode but no ETA.

TVersity Pro does however offer configurable target size for the transcode, but I haven't had a chance to try it (and they have a money-back guarantee instead of a free trial which is a bit annoying).

Both should work with TubeCore.

Pete
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Old 2011-04-06, 07:50 AM   #11
CHolmes
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I have play on and WDTV, can someone give me a step by step to getting around the fact HULU and US Netflix and other US stuff wont work?
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Old 2011-04-13, 05:27 PM   #12
Wayne
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Why use PlayOn on WinMCE when accessing US Netflix as there is a pretty good add-in for MCE? The Hulu desktop addin also works well although it throws you out of MCE but then it seems to bring you back fine.

The question is why use PlayOn when you can get most of these services directly in MCE? Is it to avoid needing an Xbox Gold sub? I use PlayOn since that is the only way to get Netflix and Hulu via SageTV extenders but it has some drawbacks as mentioned above.
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