Starting in June, Cablevision says that the company will be testing a new service called "PC to TV Media Relay." The short and sweet of it: the service will allow users to view, listen or watch any Internet website content on a dedicated cable TV channel in the home. So far PC only, the service requires a software download for your computer, but will work over your existing cable set top. Most of our more tech savvy customers already have solutions in place, but it sounds like a good way for less technical users to bridge the sometimes cumbersome office/living room broadband video divide.
Users will of course reasonably have privacy concerns, however. Content from your PC or the Internet travels in real-time up through the Cablevision network and then gets sent back down to the television, through the set-top box.
The consumer views the content - which can include any number of broadband services including Web video, Pandora music, family photos or videos, your iTunes library, documents/e-mails - on their own dedicated digital cable channel on the television.
"With our PC to TV Media Relay service, we are putting an end to the need for families to huddle around their laptops or PCs to watch content together," Cablevision COO Tom Rutledge said in a press release
. (pdf) "This new service will make it easy for our television customers to take broadband services including Internet video, as well as family photos or anything else displayed on a computer screen and move it to the television with the click of the mouse."
We've confirmed with Cablevision that this includes Hulu, which is a move you probably wouldn't see some of the more tight-fisted cable TV operators embrace for fear of cannibalizing their own TV channels. Of course Hulu might not like this. You'll recall that Hulu blocked Boxee
simply for offering living room access to the Hulu website. While Jeff Zucker, President and CEO of NBC, accused Boxee of "illegally taking" Hulu content, all Boxee was doing was offering users TV-based browser access.
That means Cablevision could find themselves in a similar fight with Hulu or NBC (and eventually Comcast), given they too are simply allowing users to access the Hulu website from their living room. Cablevision has already had their share of fun with NBC after NBC (and a number of other broadcasters) sued Cablevision for their plans to offer network-based DVR services
. Cablevision tells Broadband Reports
those plans are still on track, and to stay tuned for an announcement on that front.