This week, ResTV unveiled an all-new cable system that will be available to all UR students, faculty and staff. A company called Campus Televideo, which also provided the old ResTV system created in 1996 by UR’s previous cable provider, Magnavision, provides the new system. Channels in the old system were grouped into three tiers. Networks such as ABC and CBS were in the basic tier, which was free. Cable channels such as MTV were in the second tier, which required a subscription fee. HBO was in the third tier, and required a much larger subscription fee. It worked well when it was created, but the system became sluggish as the equipment behind it became outdated. Since there was no repairman on campus, people with cable problems had to wait for CTV repairmen to come in from CTV’s home office in Connecticut. Faced with increasing numbers of complaints, Director of Residential Life Logan Hazen decided it was time for a change. This change means a slight increase in service charges, but as Hazen explained, “The system had deteriorated pretty badly, and no one was arguing about [our choice to change].” The new system is the result of six months of negotiations with CTV. In the new system, most of the cable channels previously in the second tier are now free. As Hazen said, “It’s a good deal.” According to Hazen, the less-than-perfect timing of this switch couldn’t be helped. “We just couldn’t get [the legal details] done over the summer.” Despite the poor timing, the announcement of the new system was welcomed by many on campus with open arms. “I’m glad we can watch football now and see the Pats win!” junior Jamella James said.The changes to the system include an entirely new set of electronics, promising fewer complications with the service. If a problem should arise, CTV has trained UR students to serve as on-campus cable repairmen, which should drastically shorten the amount of time spent waiting for a repairman to show up and fix the problem. This new system doesn’t come without drawbacks, however. ESPN, HBO and MSG still require a fee, and Court TV has been completely removed from the lineup. Court TV’s omission and the inclusion of ESPN in the new system’s pay tier are due to unfavorable offers from the networks. For example, the package with just ESPN added would have cost about 20 percent more than the package by itself. According to Hazen, it would have cost UR much more money to get ESPN free with the basic package than as an optional, high- priced channel. “We really had only two choices,” he said. “[We could] say, ‘We don’t offer ESPN,’ or offer it at a premium.” Hazen is very confident that this change is for the better. “We didn’t get ripped,” he said. “I know that. We had some good negotiations.” Some students however, like junior Jesse Victor, disagree. “Court TV was a source of edification for me and, while I don’t have a TV, I’m sorry we’re not getting it anymore,” he said.The new system is being installed in steps over the course of this week. On Monday the old equipment was replaced and the networks were made available. From Tuesday to Thursday, the other channels are being tested one by one. All channels should be available by the weekend. “Hopefully, by Thursday night, we should be done,” Hazen said. “The technicians want to go home.”While the job should be finished by Thursday, but the technicians still have a few problems to work out. “Some students are getting free HBO now, and that’s great,” Hazen said. “Just don’t scream when it goes away.” Other students, like freshman Flannery Edwards, don’t need free HBO to be happy. “I think [the new system] is great – I watched ‘Smallville’ tonight.”Haymovits can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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