Cablevision Merges Facebook Photos with TV


Pay-TV companies have a tough road ahead of them as content providers are pressing for more compensation and advertising is under pressure in-part because of the economy and the use of DVRs. So raising prices is one of the options available to these companies and many are doing so. Cablevision for its part is raising prices but not as much as many of the other companies in the space. And as expected, record numbers of people are disconnecting their paid television service because they simply can’t afford it.

Cablevision seems to be focused less on increasing their prices and more on keeping its current customers happy. It continues to innovate as witnessed by the roll-out of Optimum WiFi in much of its footprint and more recently the integration of photo viewing on TV via the company’s cable television service. The way Cablevision’s IO photos works is you connect your Facebook account to the company’s website which installs an application on your Facebook account.

At this point you can use channel 640 on your television to view the photos connected to your social media account. This includes your friend’s album. The standard remote control works as a simple but effective tool as you explore JPEGs of relatives you forgot you even had.

Last February, TMC’s Tom Keating wrote about how the company unveiled software called PC to TV Media Relay which connects a PC screen and sound output to Cablevision’s cloud for TV viewing. In theory you could achieve photo viewing functionality with this offering but based on some simple web searches it doesn’t seem to have gained much traction.e noted that Verizon FiOS has a similar application and Uverse has integration with Flikr.

In testing, IO Photos was sluggish at times and locked up at other times. There also seemed to be an issue when you tried to leave the viewing of a specific album. At one point I noticed I was in a loop which eventually let me go back to the main screen in order to see other photo albums.

Currently you can only see photos from Facebook and I hope they add Photobucket and Kodak Gallery as well as others.

The service is very useful if one person in a home family has many Facebook friends and others in the household do not or are too young to have social networking accounts. You can use the service to “share” your account in a read-only manner which is restricted to just viewing photos. And children as young as five or so should be able to navigate the interface – assuming they know the alphabet of course.

I consider the connection of cloud-based photos to pay-TV to be a fantastic differentiator because so many people have virtual treasure troves of photos in the cloud with no easy way to show them on flat-screen TVs which are plummeting in price and showing up in more rooms per household. This new free service shows innovative carriers can still develop sticky services which while not immediately boosting revenue make churn less of a problem.

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