Northwestern weighing Netflix, Hulu as it discontinues NUTV

Sophia Bollag, Copy Chief

Northwestern may offer Netflix, Hulu Plus or Comcast Cable to dorm residents after it phases out NUTV.

Last week, NU Information Technology told its student advisory committee it plans to get rid of NUTV, which allows students to stream cable television on their computers, by July 31 due to a lack of student participation and the high cost of the program.

“The decision to phase out NUTV was made with input from students and a review of data showing that students did not use the service,” NUIT director Wendy Woodward said in an email to The Daily.

Once NUIT and Residential Services update the wireless infrastructure for all residential areas, they plan to implement a new entertainment system, said Paul Riel, executive director of Residential Services. A new program probably will not be put in place before the end of next year.

Although the University has not formally researched replacements for NUTV, Riel said administrators have discussed alternatives such as streaming options like Netflix and Hulu Plus and wired options like Comcast Cable.

“Ideally, it would be some package where there’s no additional cost to students,” he said.

Ethan Romba, former technology vice president of Associated Student Government, said he was pleased with the University’s decision to leave behind NUTV.

“I think it was a service that made sense a number of years ago,” the McCormick senior said. “As technology has changed and TV-watching habits have changed considerably over the years, I think this is a timely and appropriate change for NUIT and student affairs and for students.”

The money saved from discontinuing NUTV will be used to improve wireless infrastructure before it goes toward buying another entertainment system, Riel said. NUIT and Residential Services have already tested some new options in Bobb and McCulloch halls.

“From what we can tell, that’s been working really well,” Riel said.

The planned update comes as more students arrive on campus with devices that demand more bandwidth and coverage.

“The existing infrastructure we have now can’t sustain the kind of usage students are demanding,” Riel said.