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Residence Life Switches to New TV Streaming Service

Christopher Hacker | The PHOENIXA new streaming service allows students to watch live TV on their mobile devices.

Loyola’s Department of Residence Life implemented its partnership Aug. 26 with Comcast Xfinity on Campus.

The new television service replaced the previous cable boxes, which were included in every dorm as a part of the university’s room and board rate.

Comcast’s service for college campuses allows students to stream live TV, record up to 20 hours of programs and stream TV shows and movies to every device from a Smart TV to a smartphone.

The sudden departure from the previous traditional cable service affects only on-campus residents, according to Loyola’s Department of Residence Life.

Residence Life also announced upgrades to common areas and internet service at Loyola.

This upgrade comes after many concerns over Loyola internet speeds, reliability and previous changes to the network.

“Common areas in the residence halls will continue to be equipped with traditional cable boxes to enable students to gather in community and enjoy live TV,” the department said in an email to students.“[ITS] has also upgraded Wi-Fi bandwidth, so students should enjoy a marked improvement in their streaming services.”

The new Xfinity services will not impact student tuition as an amenity for on-campus students according to Deb Schmidt-Rogers, assistant vice president and director of Residence Life.

“There is no impact to student tuition,” Schmidt-Rogers said. “The Xfinity on Campus service is available only to those students who live in the residence halls/apartments.”

Xfinity streaming was designed to improve students’ TV experience on campus after Schmidt-Rogers analyzed a poll that revealed only 20 percent of on-campus Loyola students used the previous cable service.

“Over the next year, we asked the question again, we met with the [residents, commuters and dining] committee of [Loyola student government], and investigated other cable options, including offering no cable options at all (based on the number of students currently streaming and the cost of the service),” Rogers-Schmidt said in an email.

Her mission to bring a more effective streaming option to campus began shortly into her first year as assistant vice president.

“This process necessitated primary involvement from the Division of Student Development, Residence Life and IT Services,” Schmidt-Rogers said. “Each office played a different role, based on area of expertise. Once a decision was made we worked closely with the Office of the General Counsel to assist us in executing the contract.”

The new network has caused some streaming complications for some on-campus residents such as first-year Taylor Rourke, who described her TV experience in Simpson Residence Hall as unsatisfactory.

Rourke said she was frustrated because room and board rates —about $13,770 for on-campus residents ­­— cover the cost of television services that not all students use. 

With this sudden switch in the middle of move-in week, she was unable to assess whether or not to bring her TV, which can’t browse the internet to connect to Xfinity without an external device.

Rourke and her roommate are using their laptops while the TV sits on Rourke’s desk, unused.

“Not cool,” Rourke said. “We’re paying for something we can’t even use because we can’t access it from our TV.”

Other students, however, are hopeful. Rose Rumery, a current sophomore and resident of Georgetown Residence Hall, said that the switch to Xfinity may be beneficial. Rose said  her experience last year in Mertz Residence Hall was less than exceptional.

While she hasn’t used the cable service this year, because her roommates have an Apple TV, Rumery is interested in trying it out.

“If we didn’t have an Apple TV, it would definitely be helpful to use… I wish I had this as a freshman,” Rumery said.