Cablevision to simplify outputting video from your PC to your TV

A number of cable companies are trying to bring their content to the web these days in an effort to stay relevant in a world where video-streaming services like Hulu and Netflix exist. There’s HBO’s newly launched Go service,  which is part of Comcast and Time Warner’s “TV Everywhere” initiative, and we’ve also reported on Brightcove’s technology to help broadcasters bring their content online.

Now AllThingsDigital is reporting on Cablevision’s plans. Cablevision takes a different approach to uniting subscriber’s PC and TV viewing habits. Instead of bringing content to the PC, it is working on a new technology that allows subscribers to easily bring the contents of their PC to their TV. Dubbed “PC to TV Media Relay”, the technology appears to offer the same functionality as hooking up your PC to your TV with a web of video and audio cables (lucky PC owners can also perform the same hook-up with a single HDMI cable), only it will work without the cables.

The technology will allow users to transmit anything they like to their TVs — be it word processing documents, or Hulu videos. And instead of using cables, subscribers just need to install a single piece of software. The company didn’t offer any further details on how “PC to TV Media Relay” will work, but I assume the installed software will communicate with one of its cable boxes via some sort of remote desktop technology, like VNC.

The technology sounds fantastic for consumers, since it will grant us access to a wealth of web content on our TVs — but content providers will likely take issue with Cablevision’s plans. Hulu, in particular, has been fighting access to its service via televisions for some time; the site has blocked access to both Boxee and PlayOn within the past year. NBC — one of Hulu’s co-owners — has even gone as far as telling Congress that Boxee was stealing its content.

Cablevision is planing to launch the service in June in a “technical trial” that will serve a small portion of its 3 million subscribers. It will only support Windows users at first — Mac support will follow sometime in the future.

Cablevision is the fifth largest cable provider in the US, and serves customers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and portions of Pennsylvania.


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