Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) customers who subscribe to both digital cable and broadband from the Long Island operator may get the chance next quarter to do something their geek friends have been bragging about but with a lot less hassle: watch internet content on their TVs. The new service, dubbed PC to TV Media Relay, is aimed directly at the folks who don’t want to know how anything works or to do anything more complex than click the remote to see something — ie the majority. (Yes, those of us with internet set-tops, Media Centers or *Apple* TVs hooked up to the HD in the living room are still the minority. By far.)
Slated for a Q2 tech trial, PC to TV is strictly that for now; a Mac version is in development. Here’s how Cablevision says it will work: following a single one-time software download to their computers, cable subs will be able to see any of the content on their computer on a dedicated channel viewable only in that household. No need to change input settings or to add equipment to watch Hulu or TV.com streaming episodes although it sounds like they’ll have to know how to manage and select content on the PC. The service may be extended to other devices, including handhelds on in-house wireless networks, but for now is limited to PCs. It’s not clear how many computers in a household can use it or how many channels a household can have — or if Cablevision will warn subs they may be sharing more than they want with members of their own household..
It’s also limited to Cablevision cable subs who get the operator’s Optimum Online — for now. A Cablevision rep said the service is linked to the cable subscription, which would suggested it could be opened in the future to those who get ISP elsewhere.
The announcement comes ahead of Thursday’s earnings release (the first since the spin off of MSG into its own publicly traded company). That may explain why it’s long on pop and short on details.