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Hofstra adds digital broadcast channels

By Elisha McNeil (Special to the Chronicle) Digital broadcast is making its way into Hofstra and bringing HBO with it. Several new TVs have been placed in Dutch Treats, Bits & Bytes and some of the dorms.

HBO and twelve HD channels were added to the HofstraVision Channel Lineup on Thursday.

The lineup now includes the following channels: HBO East, HBO West, HBO Comedy, HBO Signature, HBO Zone, AUDIENCE, Fuel TV, NFL Network, MLB Network, National Geographic Wild, NBA Network and HD Net.

Helen Latimer, director of Hofstra’s Networks and Telecommunications, explained that the new TVs and upgrades to the broadcast content network were negotiated with MTVU, the MTV channel for universities. The agreement included the purchase of HD modulators and an additional HD satellite installed to the roof of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication.

Latimer said that the new technical additions were necessary with the constant change in technology.

“It’s a matter of economics,” Latimer said. “From a technical perspective, it’s the way the industry is going to digital broadcast at this point. We thought it was an enhancement to the infrastructure that was worthy of an investment from the University.”

The selection of HBO as the lineup’s premium channel was based on the results of a survey conducted by Student Affairs.

Jayne Brownell, assistant vice president for student affairs, said that Student Affairs agreed with a recommendation by SGA to allow students to select the group of channels they preferred in this year’s residential quality of life survey.

The survey included the choice between HBO, Showtime, Cinemax and Starz/Encore. The results revealed HBO as the clear winner with a 72.9 percent vote out of the 746 responses. The survey ran from Feb. 25 to March 11 and was distributed to all residential students through email.

“I think that students are always looking for an upgrade to technology,” Brownell said.

Ariella Katz, sophomore and accounting major, did not have the chance to check out the upgrade, but she said that she is very excited for the new HD channels, especially HBO.

“I’m a big fan of the show ‘Girls’ and that’s on HBO,” Katz said. “There’s other stuff on HBO that I’ve always wanted to watch and now that it’s actually on the TV, it’s awesome. This weekend I’m definitely going to chill, catch up on TV and watch some ‘Girls.’”

Although Michaela Marano, freshman and public relations major, was unaware of the new lineup, she said that HBO was a nice addition for students.

“It’s for the better,” Marano said. “They’re trying to become modern and I think that’s a benefit to the school. I’m a fan of HBO movies that are on, if … let’s say, Netflix doesn’t have it, and I like that aspect.”

While students were given the luxury of choosing HBO as their premium channel, the selection of the seven other HD channels were left up to the Network and Telecommunications department.

Latimer said that the selection was based on the recommendation of the company that supports the infrastructure (cabling, amplifiers, power supplies and everything that keeps the TV network up) within the university.

Their recommendation, based upon experience, was to broadcast mostly HD sports channels. Fortunately, if the channels are not necessarily what the student body wants, they can all be changed at any time and the changes will take effect within 48 hours. However, the HBO package cannot be changed due to contract.

Latimer even discussed the possibility of similar improvement plans in the future.

“Right now the majority of our head end modulators are analog.,” Latimer said. “Over time we’re in theory going to either replace modulators with digital modulators or with one of the other newer [technologies] that we’re looking at called IPTV, which is television over the data network.”

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