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Get a lifetime PlayLater subscription for $39.99

This "streaming DVR" tool lets you record movies and TV shows from the likes of HBO Go, Hulu Plus, and Netflix for offline and mobile viewing.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
3 min read
These are just some of the streaming channels you can record for offline/mobile viewing with PlayLater.
These are just some of the streaming channels you can record for offline/mobile viewing with PlayLater. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Want to watch episodes of "Orange is the New Black" on your next coast-to-coast flight? (Trust me: you do.) Too bad: in-flight Wi-Fi doesn't allow for Netflix streaming.

What you need is a way to "record" the series for offline viewing on your laptop, phone, or tablet -- a DVR of sorts for Netflix and other services. That's PlayLater in a nutshell.

A lifetime subscription to the service would normally cost you $79.99 (and many would say it's well worth it), but for a limited time, you can get a lifetime PlayLater subscription for $39.99. Don't want to commit for that long? Try a year for $19.99 (regularly $29.99).

PlayLater lets you capture streams from around 60 services, including Amazon, Crackle, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Netflix, TBS, and all five of the major networks. (Anyone familiar with the popular PlayOn, a veritable cord-cutter's delight, will be familiar with the roster.) It's kind of an embarrassment of riches: A&E, Adult Swim, Food Network, SyFy, TBS, Vevo, and on and on. You can even get plug-ins for missing networks like AMC.

I've used PlayLater, and it works amazingly well. All you do is choose a streaming service (keeping in mind you must be a paid-up subscriber for pay services like ESPN, Hulu, and Netflix), find the movie or show you want, then click Record. If something's already recording, you click Add to Queue. The PlayLater client can even be set to auto-sync with iTunes so your recordings can get easily added to your iDevice. Either way, you'll have MP4-format video files you can view on just about anything.

If there's a caveat here, it's that recordings are made in real-time, meaning a 60-minute TV show will take 60 minutes to record. So you'll need to plan ahead (and maybe leave your computer running overnight) to get everything you want for your next trip.

Surely this can't be legal, right? According to MediaMall Technologies, it absolutely is: "Just like the broadcast DVR and the VCR before it, PlayLater is designed for personal use and convenience." The service has been around for exactly two years, so I think if the lawyers were going to shut it down, it would have happened by now.

This is quite the amazing product, and although $40 isn't what I'd call supercheap, it's definitely better than $80. If you want an almost effortless way to save streaming video, this is the deal to beat.

Bonus deal: Tablet Monday! Big tablet, small price: 1SaleADay via eBay has the refurbished Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ 9-inch tablet (16GB) for $110 shipped. That is an insanely good deal, though I must admit there's one thing I strongly dislike about the Nooks: their proprietary charging connectors and cables. On the plus side, these refurbs come with a full one-year warranty, suggesting they're manufacturer recertified and not 1SaleADay recertified.

Bonus deal No. 2: Speaking of insanely good deals, Tech.Woot has the refurbished Roku 2 XD streaming box for $44.99, plus $5 for shipping. That's the number-two Roku in terms of features, and Woot bundles it with a second remote: the enhanced, motion-tracking one that allows for Roku-powered Angry Birds and other games.

Bonus deal No. 3: Game time! Ending today, Amazon offers of the Square Enix Gamer's Bundle for $14.99. It includes Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Hitman Absolution: Professional Edition, Just Cause 2, Just Cause 2: Black Market Aerial Pack DLC, and Sleeping Dogs. Combined value: around $100. You'll need a Steam account to activate and install the games. Thanks to reader Robert for sharing the deal!

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