Comcast appears to be making more progress with its IP-delivered “Xfinity On Campus” multiscreen video service, with evidence emerging this week that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of New Hampshire have joined the initial batch of test schools.
According to the Xfinity On Campus web site, MIT was added as an option this week. The University of New Hampshire has also appeared as a selection on the Xfinity On Campus iPad app. The student sign-on page for the University of New Hampshire clearly labels it as a test. MIT’s sign-on area does not make it clear if the Xfinity On Campus service is available yet. The MIT campus served as the site of an early test of Comcast’s managed IP video system.
Comcast declined to comment on its current activities at MIT and UNH.
But the appearance of the schools offers another sign of progress for the MSO’s budding IPTV service for college students. Following its initial trial with Boston’s Emerson College, Comcast has also been preparing to trial it with Drexel University in the MSO’s hometown of Philadelphia.
The current version of Xfinity On Campus, a service seemingly designed and tailored to appeal to cord-cutters or students who have never subscribed to a pay-TV service, streams out a lineup of live TV channels and VOD content over the campus’s managed IP network, and has plans to add premium content to the lineup, including the MSO's own Streampix service. Comcast offers access to the Xfinity On Demand service on laptop and PC browsers, and is developing apps for tablets and smartphones.
Comcast runs the Xfinity On Demand service on X1, a next-gen IP-capable platform that, in Boston, recently added a cloud DVR service and in-home live TV streaming to mobile devices. The service also runs on VIPER, the MSO’s in-house, cloud-based, IP video pipeline.
Comcast isn't the only one pursuing the college market with an IP-fed, multiscreen service. Philo, a Boston-based startup that counts HBO and Mark Cuban among its backers, has also developed an IP video platform coupled with a network DVR service targeted to college campuses that runs on browsers, Roku boxes, and the Apple TV (using AirPlay Mirroring). Formerly known as Tivli, Philo is already working with several schools, including Yale University, Fort Hays State University, University of Washington, Harvard University, Wesleyan University, Pepperdine University, and William Patterson University of New Jersey.
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