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DLNA's Future: Cable, DVR and Stored Media on All Your Screens, Instantly

LAS VEGAS --  Three things are going to help you rock your home media setup with DLNA one day.

One, the consortium of companies that manage DLNA attained the right to stream digitally protected media last year. Two, because DLNA technology now supports Wi-Fi Direct, it can stream content from a tablet to a smartphone without a middleman wireless router. And three, the service is currently seeking premium video services that will help it stream television shows and movies from cable companies, internet video hubs and other digital content movers.

When that fine cocktail settles, one thing you could have is a set-top box, supplied by your cable provider, that can stream all your favorite television shows to a tablet, smartphone or notebook. At least, that's the case according to a presentation we watched at the Intel booth during the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show.

Intel used a Comcast Xfinity set-top box stuffed with stored DVR content, downloaded video and media files, and live cable television to demonstrate how DLNA can be used to watch all of the above on any DLNA-enabled screen in the home. During a meeting with the DLNA team earlier in the day, we also watched television streamed wirelessly through a Broadcomm set-top box to a television set.

Sadly, content providers haven't adopted DLNA's new streaming guidelines, so the technology in this Comcast-powered presentation isn't available to consumers yet. Still, as the demo makes clear, it's possible, and hopefully will be coming soon.

Speaking of coming soon, Intel showed us one other very cool thing. The company's demo included a DLNA plug-in for Internet Explorer 9 that let users watch PIP-style video of their favorite TV show (for the attendees, that was The Closer) in line with their web browsing. In addition to all the screen-to-screen DLNA content, that's a handy way to get live cable video content from a set-top box in the living room downstairs onto your the laptop in your bedroom.  

It's not here yet, it depends on content providers adopting the consortium's new guidelines, and manufacturers that use DLNA still have to sort out interface differentiation issues to help the technology gain users, but live cable TV streamed to your Android tablet is definitely something to look forward to.