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New online-TV service comes to residence halls

Tivli

Tivli -

A new television service called Tivli is being offered to UW students allowing them to watch TV from their laptops anywhere on campus.

Photo by Sara Koopai

After sophomore Neal Edmondson’s television tuner stopped working in his residence-hall room last quarter, he no longer had access to watch his favorite shows. However, with the introduction of a new online television service, TivlI, Edmondson now has access to live shows via his laptop.

“I’m glad it is there,” Edmondson said. “It seems pretty useful.” 

Tivli, which is currently on a trial run at the UW campus, allows students living in the residence halls to watch TV from a laptop or desktop computer anywhere on campus. The trial offers 32 channels and if successful, will likely expand to 72 channels. 

“A lot of people, myself included, want to watch television on a laptop or something else,” said David Morton, the director of mobile communications for the UW. “The service itself is geared as a live-TV service.”

Tivli, a startup created by two students from Harvard University, is geared toward all of the college students who like to watch TV. Morton said the trial at the UW will help determine the value of the service.

“Overall, my experience with it has been good. It has a lot of the main channels that I watch,” freshman Kelli Stoneburner said. “Since I don’t have a TV in my dorm, it is great having the ability to check and see if there is anything on and staying current with the shows I watch.”

Tivli is linked with Husky TV, the cable television service at the UW, and because of this, only students living in the residence halls have access to the service.

At the beginning of the trial, which started April 1, Tivli was available for students in three residence halls on campus, but expanded to the rest of the residence halls on April 5. About 1,500 UW students have used Tivli since it became available.  

“Tivli is offered on college campuses because students these days aren’t only consuming TV in the traditional way but watching all kinds of videos from different sources,” said Alana Davis, a Tivli spokesperson. “This provides a solution to letting them watch TV on their own terms.”

So far, the most popular network channel for students is NBC, while ESPN is the most popular cable channel. In regard to programs, students have spent the most time watching Major League Baseball, the 2013 Masters golf tournament, “The Big Bang Theory,” “SportsCenter,” and “Doctor Who.”

This past fall, the UW information-technology service began a major project to modernize and upgrade the Husky TV service. Prior to December, Morton said the service had changed little in the past 20 years, only providing students with a basic-cable system and standard definition. With the upgrade, Husky TV now features an all-digital system, 130 available TV channels, and around 16 high-definition channels. 

“New features are being added all the time, like the feature to pause live TV,” Morton said. “Sometime in the future, it should also allow you to schedule a recording of an episode and watch it later.”

Six universities currently use Tivli, including Harvard University, Yale University, Texas A&M University, and Wesleyan University. Davis said many other campuses have shown interest in the product and it will continue to expand. 

“Overall, feedback has been hugely positive,” Davis said. “For example, you can be anywhere on campus and through the Tivli experience can watch the Super Bowl on the quad or in the library. It really matches how this generation, specifically, is watching video.”

The trial is expected to run until the end of the quarter, at which time the service will be assessed. If deemed a positive addition to campus, Tivli will be scheduled to become available for students beginning in the fall. 

So far, there have been no major issues with the service besides the request for more channels. 

At the end of the trial, a survey will be sent out to students to provide feedback.

“I sincerely hope that UW continues with this service,” Stoneburner said.

Reach reporter Nicole Einbinder at news@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @NicoleEinbinder

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