Students Gain TV Access via Tivli

by Deren Ertas, Staff Writer

Students looking to stream basic cable networks are able to do so free of charge anywhere on campus using Tivli, an IP-based television service currently available at five universities. According to the Tivli support page, the service allows students to watch any TV channel using laptops and Roku boxes, eliminating the need for a traditional television set or a cable box.

Tivli was introduced to the University last spring.

“It was about a year ago we needed to come up with an alternative to the contract we are in now, which ends in July,” said Associate Director of Information Technology Auxiliary Services Allen Alonzo.

On Sunday, Feb. 24, just before the Academy Awards aired, an article appeared on Wesleying about the University’s subscription to Tivli. For some students, this was the first they had heard of the service, although it has been available to students for many months. The previous lack of publicity was due to contractual obligations that prevented Information Technology Services from announcing the change.

“We have very strict contractual obligations to our current provider, so we couldn’t disclose what our plans are or do any marketing,” Alonzo said. “That’s why it all seems so secretive.”

Before making Tivli available to all campus residents, the service was tested in program houses.

“We did a pilot into the program houses because we’re providing TV in those locations,” Alonzo said. “As the system came online, the web interface was open [to all students].”

Although students initially had access to all the channels provided by Tivli, as of approximately one month ago only over-the-air stations are available to students, which was the original intent.

Besides Wesleyan, Tivli is also available at Harvard University, The University of Maine, Texas A&M University, and Yale University.

According to the Tivli support page, students can access Tivli by going on tivli.com and signing up with their Facebook accounts and University credentials. Tivli is currently available only on University property.

Students who have used Tivli thus far have been satisfied.

“I found it through my roommate, who actually interned with the same place (Harvard Business School) where Tivli was developed,” wrote Cole Chiumento ’14 in an email to The Argus. “Long story short, he talked with some of the guys, they mentioned that Wesleyan was one of the beta testers, and ever since then I use it to stream cable.”

Chiumento explained that he is happy that the service is available.

“It’s nice because you can get a high-quality stream of primetime sports games if you want, or you can just mindlessly flip on AMC and just relax watching TV,” he wrote. “Plus, the one time I had any problem, I emailed them, and they responded within half an hour saying they had fixed the issue. I’m pretty impressed with it overall.”

Lizzy Clayton ’14 has had a similarly positive experience with Tivli.

“I found out about it during the election,” Clayton wrote in an email to The Argus. “I went up to my friend’s room in HiRise to watch the results. It was pretty easy to flip through the channels. We knew Obama won when Fox said so.”

The University will make an official announcement concerning Tivli in July, when its contract with AT&T ends.

Additional Reporting by News Editor Christina Norris.