Hulu Plus trial ends, Residential Services to launch Comcast pilot

Jordan Harrison, Assistant Campus Editor

After a pilot program that gave students free Hulu Plus accounts to replace NUTV ended March 31, Residential Services began the process of launching a new pilot using Comcast, set to begin in May.

Paul Riel, executive director of Residential Services, said his department is not yet planning to institute Hulu Plus campus-wide and will continue to look into other entertainment services.

“We’re not finished yet,” Riel said. “We’re going to try something else as well and make sure we’re exploring all of our options.”

About 700 students activated their Hulu Plus accounts out of the nearly 1,600 who were invited to use the service, Riel said. The pilot incorporated students from eight residential buildings, including Willard Residential College, Bobb Hall and Hobart House.

Residential Services is currently in the process of evaluating data from surveys given to the students who participated in the trial. The surveys will be examining students’ satisfaction with the service, breadth of content and functionality on multiple devices.

SESP senior Brandee Dolgin, who participated in the pilot, said she appreciated the ability to watch shows on her own time, because she has classes at night, when a lot of her favorite shows air on TV.

“There are times when you want to watch something and there are other things going on,” she said.

Dolgin, who lives in Hobart, said that once the University establishes a new replacement for NUTV, it would likely deter students from illegally downloading or streaming content online.

Weinberg sophomore Maggie Lopez, another Hobart resident, said she thought Hulu Plus was a “great alternative” to NUTV.

“A lot of people can’t get to a television if they want to watch their favorite show,” she said. “I would use it over the weekends or sometimes at night, any time that I had free that I wanted to just hang out.”

Riel said the Comcast pilot would offer local programming as well as content similar to Hulu Plus, all in a different layout. Comcast will also have more movie options than the Hulu Plus program, he added.

“I think they’ve got some DVR features that may be potentially available to us, and certainly local programming,” he said. “It’s all about the delivery. Hulu and Comcast both have access to some of the same content—it’s just how they deliver it.”

Residential Services also recently updated the wireless systems in five residential buildings, which will allow them to test the new pilot using a different group of students and residence halls.

“We’re thinking now what we need to do is since we did more upgrades over Spring Break, we’re thinking we’ll go to a different part of campus,” Riel said.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @MedillJordan