NUTV seeks student advice for service improvements

Paulina Firozi

After noticing a decline in usage, NUTV, Northwestern’s in-room television service for undergraduates living in residential halls, sent out a survey to students via email Sunday to ask for their opinions about the program and any improvement suggestions.

NU Information Technology Director Jim Roberts said it is pertinent to see if a service like NUTV is still relevant in students’ lives or whether NUIT should look into alternative options.

“We want to know, really, whether or not NUTV is important to students,” Roberts said. “One of the questions we always have is about other services like Hulu, Netflix, online offerings. There’s always the idea that today’s student is able to satisfy their TV-viewing needs through time-shifting type services like Hulu or Netflix and a broadcast program like NUTV isn’t as necessary as it was a few years ago.”

Roberts said he recalls a high demand for a television broadcast program before the current one was implemented, but he has seen that demand decrease over time. In the three years he has worked for NUIT, he said he has gotten almost no feedback about NUTV, either positive or negative, which he said means there may not be many students using it.

Communication freshman Ashley Mills said she uses NUTV only about once a week to catch up on her favorite shows, and it is not the ideal format to do so.

“I don’t think it’s the best way to broadcast television,” she said. “It’s kind of inconvenient.”

Mills said she is unable to use other applications while using NUTV, which prevents her from multitasking when she is watching television. She said she also uses Netflix to watch her shows. Mills took the online survey and said she hopes the service will be improve.

Weinberg freshman James Price said NUTV is important when he wants to watch sports on ESPN or the Food Network. He said he uses NUTV almost every other day but still believes there are improvements that can be made.

“It’s standard definition; there’s no HD option, which is disappointing,” he said. “It’s basically just a TV. You are allowed to see the programs scheduled for the next few hours, but there’s no recording and you can’t pause it and there’s no closed captioning, which would all be really helpful.”

In the survey, students may select additional features they would want to have through NUTV, such as digital recording, more channels, premium channels, on-demand progamming and better picture quality. Roberts said though these options were presented on the survey, they may not be features that can be added to the current version of NUTV. Depending on student response, he said the survey may prompt the creation of a new service for students. The survey also included questions about how often, when and where students most use NUTV and how satisfied they are with the program.

Medill sophomore Sammy Levitt said he is satisfied with NUTV but understands there are many other ways to stream television on the Internet.

Levitt said he uses the program up to three times a week. However, when he sets time aside for a specific program, usually a sports game, he said he can find it online in HD on sites such as ESPN.

The need to hook up a computer to an Ethernet port in a dorm room, Levitt said, creates an obstacle for students who otherwise might be using the service.

Overall, however, Levitt said he is a satisfied consumer of NUTV.

“I think it’s a cool service,” he said. “I don’t know many other schools that have this kind of service. It’s nice to have TV in your room. It feels a little more like you’re at home.”

Roberts said the results of the survey will likely be available by mid-to-late May and will allow the survey’s creators to determine how the service will continue for Fall Quarter.

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