Cablevision has announced what it’s calling a “first of its kind” service to enable its digital cable customers to connect their PCs to their TVs. The PC to TV Media Relay service will begin a technical trial in June 2010, and will allow users to access whatever information or content that is available for display on their PC, including (according to the release):
- Personal stored media such as photos, home videos and music;
- Internet content including streaming video sites and audio such as Internet radio;
- Some productivity applications including email, documents and spreadsheets;
- And, other Desktop applications such as widgets.
The system, according to the release, will work through a dedicated channel on the customer’s cable box, which will display PC content after a one-time software installation. It may also be extended to handheld devices and connected to in-home wireless networks, and a Mac version is also in development. The trial period will only involve users who get both their digital cable and high-speed Internet from Cablevision.
On the surface, the only difference from the cables and hardware devices tech-savvy consumers use to connect computers to their televisions is that PC to TV Media Relay formalizes and simplifies the process. But it’s easy to think that Hulu, which has a tradition of blocking tools that enable it to be seen on televisions, might respond in a similar fashion to how they did with Boxee.
However, given how most cable providers are focusing on authentication and clunky TV Everywhere services, the fact that Cablevision is working to develop a new service for customers that, instead of demanding their continued allegiance gives them an incentive not to cut the cord, is to be admired.
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