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After test run of Philo, residence life considers Internet streaming over cable

By Sarah Knepp, For The Miami Student

Miami University may soon be cutting the cord on cable. Through Oct. 16, the university participated in a trial run testing out Philo, an Internet streaming alternative to cable for on-campus students.

Philo allows students to watch and record their favorite shows without using their cable cord. According to its website, Philo is used as an alternative to cable at over 40 college campuses nationwide, including Harvard University, Brown University and the University of Alabama.

The trial run took place all across campus and was open particularly for students, faculty and staff involved in residence life, according to Kyleen Ammerman, an assistant director of the Office of Residence Life (ORL). This includes executive board members of the Residence Hall Association (RHA), Residence Life staff and Community Leadership Team (CLT) members.

"It was not limited to one residence hall, but rather to an assortment of key stakeholders of those who live in the halls," Ammerman said.

Hailey Barr, a sophomore and member of the RHA executive board, said these specific people were the only ones informed and invited to join in on the trial run.

"We didn't advertise [the trial] campus-wide because we had to have a list of everyone trying out Philo to approve them logging on," Barr said. "We wanted to have a larger sample than just the executive board, which is why it included CLT."

Now that the trial is over, members of the ORL and RHA will have to see how the students who tested Philo's services liked it, and whether they would like it in the future.

"We will ask about how they have streamed Philo, did they encounter buffering issues, did they use the recording option and how was the quality," Ammerman said.

Ammerman also said her office is making sure students tell them any and all channels they would like to have on the streaming service.

Despite some initial issues with the streaming service, ORL has so far received positive feedback from participants in the trial run of Philo.

"I know there were some problems with logistics in the beginning, but I think once people got on, they enjoyed it," Barr said.

Ammerman echoed the excitement of Barr and other students about the quality of Philo, especially because it offers diverse options in the TV experience.

"I have used Philo almost exclusively for watching TV," she said. "I have not had any issues of buffering, and the quality has been wonderful. I have been able to watch it on my laptop, tablet, phone and TV. I love the recording option, in case I am in meetings and can't watch my favorite show."

If the official results of the trial run turn out positive, Miami will consider using Philo as an alternative to cable in residence halls in the future.

"With North Quad being renovated, we need to decide if we're signing with Philo and then not putting in cable, or if we're sticking with cable," Barr said. "We won't have both, as far as I know."

Kaitlyn Green, first-year and resident of Anderson Hall, thinks the streaming service would be a good alternative to cable if the decision is made to remove cable in residence halls altogether.

"I think streaming could be a much better idea so we can eliminate the cable cords around the room," Green said.

Organizations like RHA, as well as many university departments, will ultimately make the decision about whether to "cut the cord" in residence halls on campus.

"IT Services, HOME and ORL are looking toward the future and how students view their media content has changed," Ammerman said.