University News

IPTV offers more accessibility, channels

Improvements include wireless and mobile access, DVR feature, greater program selection

Senior Staff Writer
Monday, January 26, 2015

Students returning to campus for this semester can find a revamped Internet Protocol Television service equipped with a variety of new features, including an upgrade from 32 to 60 channels and accessibility from mobile devices.

Prior to last month’s overhaul, the system had seen little change since its initial implementation 10 years ago, said Ravi Pendse, vice president for computing and information services and chief information officer.

CIS began collaborating with the Undergraduate Council of Students and the Office of Residential Life in December 2013 to create a new system that catered to students’ needs, Pendse said.

Students complained most that IPTV required an Ethernet cable, which confined them to watching programs in their rooms, said Assistant Director for IT Communications and Training Stephanie Obodda. “You couldn’t sit on your bed if the cord wasn’t long enough,” she added.

“We hand out Ethernet cables to all first-years when they pick up their keys during orientation,” Obodda said. “We noticed that this year’s first-years didn’t know what an Ethernet cable was.”

IPTV was the last technological service offered at the University to require the use of an Ethernet cable. CIS has not yet discussed whether it will give out the cables next year, Obodda wrote in a follow-up email to The Herald.

Previously, if students wanted to watch television on sets they had brought from home, they required set-top boxes, which were old and limited in number, Pendse said. But now students can stream IPTV on their personal television sets through Roku, a modern set-top box.

The new IPTV also includes a DVR feature that allows students to record up to 10 hours of programming, Pendse added.

“This is perfect for shows and movies I can’t get on Netflix,” said Timothy Mueller-Harder ’18. “Today alone I recorded two movies and a TV episode.”

When CIS took a snapshot of activity on the afternoon of Jan. 21, it revealed that 200 community members were watching online at once, Pendse said.

Because this is a joint project with ResLife, students living off campus who log into the new IPTV will only be able to view public access channels such as ABC and CBS, Pendse added.

Philo, the technology company that provides the infrastructure behind IPTV, currently requires Microsoft Silverlight, which means IPTV will not be available through Google Chrome for students using  Macs, Obodda said. “Philo has told us this is something they would like to fix,” she added.

CIS is working to include University channels such as BTV among the channels offered on IPTV, Odobba said.

“I love the website. The design is fantastic,” said Aman Haq ’16. “Everything plays quickly, and it’s good quality.”

As of Jan. 22, CIS had not received any complaints about the new IPTV, Obodda wrote.

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