New Yorkers who want to watch online videos or family photos on their TVs will soon be able to do so on their own personal TV channel if they are Cablevision Systems Corp subscribers.
It is the latest attempt by the U.S. cable TV industry to remain relevant as a rising number of subscribers spend more time watching videos and viewing photos and chatting online.
Cablevision, which serves 3 million homes in the New York area, will start a trial service in June for customers who buy both video and Internet access from the company.
Named PC to TV Media Relay, Cablevision said the technology will allow the customer to transfer anything available for display on their PC for viewing on a dedicated TV channel.
The customer will need to download software to their computer to enable the service. It will not work with Apple computers.
Cablevision will pitch the service to customers as enabling online viewing with only the touch of a button.
Pricing has yet to be decided, the company said. It is still working on software for Apple users and plans to extend the service to handheld devices connected to in-home wireless networks.
Cable companies are making various moves to avoid being replaced by video sites such as Hulu or Google Inc's YouTube.
Comcast Corp launched a service called On Demand Online last year that offers cable programing on its own website to subscribers to both its digital cable and Internet service.
Bernstein Research analyst Craig Moffett argued recently that cable investors should place more value on the broadband networks rather than the their video services cable provides.
The cable sector will change over the next five to 10 years, he predicted.
Linear video will, no doubt, continue to exist, and even to thrive, but broadband will by then almost inarguably be the core business for the cable companies, Moffett said.
(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)