Cablevision's Optimum App for Laptop, which allows customers to tune into live TV on any PC or Mac connected to their local network, has exited the private beta phase and is now available to all of the company's approximately 3 million subscribers. Like the provider's previous app for iOS devices, Optimum App for Laptop (
which does work on desktops, despite the somewhat misleading name) lets your computer double as another TV in the house, giving you access to each and every channel included in your cable package. That includes premium offerings (HBO, Showtime, etc.) as well as Video On Demand content.
If you're one to surf channels endlessly, you might appreciate the new "Most Watched" feature, which displays the top shows other Cablevision customers are watching at any given moment. Otherwise, the experience is largely similar to what we saw during the beta. Video quality doesn't appear to be HD, but is perfectly watchable after a few seconds of buffering. Pixelation becomes a factor during fast moving scenes, but that's about the worst of our complaints. The PC / Mac software also retains iOS features like DVR management and the ability to control any other Optimum-connected TVs around the home.
Additionally, Cablevision has revealed more details as to how the app works behind the scenes. The company says Optimum App for Laptop — which utilizes Microsoft's Silverlight technology — runs over a secured network and that content is not transmitted over the public internet. That's similar to what Comcast does with its Xfinity Xbox 360 application, though Optimum subscribers have no data transfer caps to worry about. You've still got time before tonight's episode of Community, so hit the source below to download Optimum App for Laptop.
Update: We've gotten clarification from Cablevision that the app is indeed limited to use on laptops and all-in-one computers. Sadly, you can dash those hopes of using any external monitor as an additional TV. The company provided us with this statement on the matter:
The primary focus of this version is laptop computers, both PCs and Macs. It will also work on desktop computers that integrate the display into the computer itself, like an Apple iMac, but not on desktops that have external monitors. Integrated display devices allow video content to be delivered with a high degree of security.