UTVStream: A new way for students to watch their favorite shows
Note: Effective August 2017, the product name for UTVStream changed to UTVGo, and the product name for Philo changed to Philo Edu.
By Emily Rushton
You’re probably familiar with University Television (UTV), the University of Utah’s cable TV service. But you may not know about its newest offering for Housing & Residential Education (HRE) students: UTVStream.
“UTVStream is television programming that’s available online,” said John Wardle, product manager for Unified Communications within University Information Technology (UIT). “Students [in HRE] can watch TV programming right on their mobile device as it streams live.”
UTV offers a wide range of cable TV channels and is meant to be watched live from your television – but UTVStream has shaken things up. Not only can you watch live programming from over 40 channels on any of your devices, but UTVStream also allows you to record up to 10 hours of movies or shows, which are stored in the cloud and can be watched at any time.
“I love UTVStream. It’s one of the best aspects of campus life,” said Megan Murri, a biology and English major who lives on campus.
The backend of UTVStream is managed by Philo, a thirty-party platform that allows viewers to watch content on their favorite devices. The Philo / UTVStream service is delivered through the U’s secure campus network.
“Philo and UTV enjoy a great partnership,” said Tuan Ho, co-founder of Philo.
“Philo prides itself on partnering with universities, rather than viewing them as customers,” he said. “Not only does this result in the best possible service for the students, but it also creates an invaluable feedback loop so that we can constantly improve our product.”
Philo, an Internet2 service provider, currently partners with over 40 universities across the nation, including Texas A&M, the University of Washington, Harvard University, and many others.
“We’re part of a peer group of universities that are going this route for TV delivery,” said Wardle. “It really is the wave of the future. We’re excited about it.”
Ho agreed: “UIT has held us to a very high standard of network security and quality of service,” he said. “By working together, we were able to meet their expectations of a smooth launch.”
Due to FCC regulations, UTVStream is only available to watch on-campus, and currently only HRE students have access to the service. While the legality probably won’t change anytime soon, Wardle says there are plans to extend UTVStream to more groups and buildings on campus.
“I heard about [UTVStream] from a poster I saw, but it wasn’t until I heard other people’s recommendations that I started using it,” said Murri. “I’m so glad I did!”
“Every person that I’ve talked to about it has said they’ve loved it,” said Wardle. Laughing, he added, “The obvious thing people will say is ‘Can we get more channels?’”