UR will no longer subscribe to Time Warner Cable after the current semester, partnering instead with Campus Televideo, a cable provider that caters to universities and colleges. The switch will occur on Dec. 29 across River Campus, affecting residence halls, fraternity houses, and all other buildings with cable television.
Campus Televideo’s website describes the company as the “leading provider of video services to university and college campuses.” Headquartered in Connecticut, the company provides traditional television subscriptions as well as IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) and other services.
Executive Director of Residential Life & Housing Services Laurel Contomanolis said in an interview that the University’s contract with Time Warner Cable ended this year, and that the administration wanted to choose a different provider.
“We were concerned about service and about there being a bunch of issues over time with Time Warner,” she said. UR has extended its contract with Time Warner for a few months to allow time for the transition to take place, but will be transferring to Campus Televideo thereafter. The University’s Internet and phone services will not be affected, and Contomanolis said
that she expects the change to be “ultimately seamless” for students.
University IT is currently working on the necessary changes to the campus’ television infrastructure, Contomanolis said. The University will install a new “head end” (the antennae facility that receives broadcasts and distributes them on a cable television system) in order to be compatible with Campus Televideo. However, most of the current hardware and technology will remain in use under the new provider.
Assistant Director of the Arts, Sciences & Engineering IT Team Joseph Pasquarelli said that “the existing coax network is being utilized to deliver this new service.”
Campus Televideo uses QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation), a broadcasting format that requires a QAM tuner to receive signals. Televisions without QAM tuners will not be able to to receive Campus Televideo broadcasting. However, Pasquarelli noted that most televisions manufactured in the U.S. after 2006 are QAM-equipped, so this should not affect most students.
Aside from changes to the hardware, the biggest difference will be a new channel lineup that will add eleven HBO channels, several ESPN channels, and a number of foreign language channels. Despite these additions, Pasquarelli noted, there will be no additional charges to students under the new provider. TV expenses will continue to be covered as part of students’ housing fee.
With Time Warner Cable, students had the opportunity to purchase extra channels beyond the basic package, including HBO and other premium channels. This will no longer be an option with Campus Televideo. However, Contomanolis said she thinks students will be satisfied with the new lineup of about 110 channels, which will include HBO.
“We wanted to purchase a number of foreign language channels,” she added. “The basic lineup that exists for this has a lot of Spanish programming, but it doesn’t have a whole lot related to Mandarin, or some of the other languages where we have a lot of students.”
The IPTV service that Campus Televideo offers allows subscribers to watch television via the Internet. The university will not be purchasing this service immediately, but the new contract with Campus Televideo will “leave the door open” for this in the future, Contomanolis noted.
Students will need to reset their televisions when they return from winter break, but the administration is working on a troubleshooting website and the IT help desk will be available to help. Pasquarelli advised students that “set top boxes, premium TV, road runner or digital phone services that have been provided by Time Warner Cable will no longer work on River Campus. If you are currently using any of these services, contact Time Warner Cable customer service to schedule the discontinuation of your service.”
Passanisi is a member of
the class of 2017