Cablevision was one of the first providers that allowed Apple's iPad to double as an additional TV screen for its programming. Now the company seems poised to bring similar functionality to a much wider audience: Windows and Mac users. A friendly tipster has dropped word of an ongoing invite-based trial of "Optimum App for Laptop," software which offers essentially the same features as its iOS counterpart. That means customers with both iO TV and Optimum Online will have access to all the channels they currently subscribe to when behind their home router. This includes premium selections like HBO, though on-demand content doesn't appear to be functional just yet.

Our source described Optimum App for Laptop — which seemingly works on both desktops and notebooks despite the name — as having a pleasant and snappy user interface based on his initial impressions on OS X Lion. It's worth noting that installing Silverlight is a prerequisite for using the app. Like the iOS version, image quality starts out rather lacking before buffering up to a more detailed stream. That said, despite pulling in HD channel signals, our tipster says that the app currently doesn't provide a high def viewing experience, though he deems it "perfectly watchable." Support for parental controls, closed captioning, and SAP is also integrated.

We've tried to run the software using an Optimum account that meets Cablevision's criteria but have been met with a prompt indicating that it's not enabled for use with the service, suggesting there are backend measures in place to ensure that only legitimate invitees have access for now. In any event, it's nice to see the company affording customers new choices as to how they want to watch content. The extended functionality hasn't come without a fight; its prior iOS apps attracted the ire of Viacom, which sued Cablevision before the two settled things outside of the courtroom this past summer.

We hope to hear an official word on Optimum App for Laptop soon. If you'd like to try your luck installing the app, hit the source link. In the meantime, we've got an exclusive tour of nearly every facet of the trial for you below.