Nov 11, 2008

IPTV use increases, students affect choices

by Matthew Coleman

Some students chose not to attend the Election Party last Tuesday, instead watching the results from the comfort of their dorm using the newly revamped IPTV.

Before the upgrade, Liberty residents could not have logged a combined total of 5,030 hours watching Fox News, according to Media Systems Manager Charles Johnson.

Initially, Liberty’s IPTV network worked fairly well, as long as the number of people watching remained relatively low. The more people who started logging on to watch at once, the worse the IPTV connection got for everyone, which proved to be very frustrating, especially when the screen started skipping or went blank entirely. The new system has worked out all of the little bugs that have caused the problems and slowdowns.

“(IPTV is) now fully functional and should be a good, standard definition signal in every dorm or any place on campus where you can plug into Ethernet,” said Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr.

Now every Liberty student has unlimited and free access to 11 different channels via a computer with a land line connection. No longer confined to an actual television screen, students will have access to this service anywhere on campus as well as the Lynchburg Inn and the Conference Center via their computers.

For the cash-strapped and frugal students who do not want to dole out $20 for an Ethernet cable, Liberty’s technicians are working on making IPTV accessible via a wireless connection.

“We are in the process of upgrading our wireless service,” Charles Spence, director of planning and construction said. “The new wireless provider will at some time in the near future be able to support the wireless IPTV. We are thinking that it may be as early as this time next year.”

As the technology for IPTV is progressing, the possibilities for the future are truly endless. While the students of Liberty are currently limited to the preapproved 11 channels, the network can be hooked up to as many as 50 different TV stations.

The Liberty hierarchy relies on student polls to determine which stations to put on and which ones to forgo, according to Spence. Suggestions can also be made by e-mailing iptv@liberty.edu.

“We can have as many channels as we want,” Spence said. “There are other schools out there with 50 or more channels.”
Not only can the IPTV system monitor how many students are watching at any given time and what they are watching, the information can be also be saved for up to four months to see what students are watching the most.

 


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