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Google has released an application that enables a Windows PC to show videos and photos and play music on a digital television.
The Google Media Server can connect a PC to any device that supports Universal Plug and Play, or UPnP, a set of computer network protocols that enable devices to share data across a home network.
The Media Server, which only works on Windows machines, requires the user install Google Desktop applications on the PC. The server uses the technology for its administration tool and leverages Desktop Search to locate media files on the PC and on the Web, where the most popular video site is Google-owned YouTube.
"Google Media Server is a Windows application that aims to bridge the gap between Google and your TV," the search engine said in a Thursday posting on the company blog.
Examples of UPnP devices that could communicate with the Google software include the video-game consoles PlayStation 3 from Sony and Xbox 360 from Microsoft, as well as Hewlett-Packard's MediaSmart high-definition televisions.
In releasing the software, Google moves closer to an area of the home entertainment market coveted by Microsoft and Apple. Both companies have software within their respective operating systems for connecting a Windows Vista PC and Mac, respectively, to a TV.
Microsoft for quite a while has offered Windows software that turns a PC into a set-top box for delivering cable programming and recording video. Apple is connecting the Mac or PC with the home TV through its Apple TV hardware. Analysts expect home networking, which is the ability for multiple devices in the home to share content, to be a lucrative market in the future.