Philo Coming to Marist

Marist College has officially switched from cable television to Philo, a live-streaming television provider that allows students to watch shows live or record them on any device. This decision comes in the wake of the live-streaming revolution as many consumers are increasingly abandoning their televisions and tuning in on their laptops.

Cable television has seen a steady decline since 2012, according to Bloomberg. Instead of purchasing television subscriptions, viewers clamor to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and more for easily accessible entertainment.

Stephen Cox, a telecommunications engineer and staff member in the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology, said that the decision to switch to Philo stemmed from a growing desire to stream television on multiple devices. Cox said that Philo saves Marist College money on infrastructure and support and improves viewer experience.

“The service agreement with the previous Cable TV provider was up for renewal. The CATV company [Cable TV Provider] was also part of the bid and RFP [Request for proposal] process for new IPTV services [Internet Protocol Television],” Cox said. “There were several components of the CATV system that were going to become obsolete and the system was in need of an upgrade. IPTV offers all HD channels with higher picture quality, device flexibility, improved user support and is overall a better product and alternative than the older CATV service.”

In the fall of 2017, Student Activities and the Information Technology departments began discussing opportunities to modify students’ television access. After researching the possible companies who could provide Marist a live streaming service, Philo stood out as the optimal provider specifically in regards to its DVR service and access to HBO Go and Cinemax Go. Philo Edu’s app specifically caters to college students, as evident especially by a graduation cap and tassel as its icon.

Cox reports only 855 students of Marist’s on-campus population actively using their Philo service for the month of October 2018. Philo representatives said a slow start is common for most schools as word still spreads about how the service works and its benefits.

Cox said Philo came highly rated by other colleges across the country.

The benefits of HBO Go and Cinemax Go extends beyond Marist campus. While Philo may be limited to the Poughkeepsie campus, the premium channels provided can be viewed anywhere. Whether students are watching the “Game of Throne”s in the Hancock Center or “Last Week Tonight” in California, students have access to these channels regardless of their presence on the campus.

Sophomore Benjamin Pierce said Philo “had no buffing and a wide variety of channels.” To his surprise, the service includes college sports he did not think would be available.

“When I used other streaming services, they were limited. But Philo has a ton of channels including secondary sports channels that feature games that would not be on prime time. CBS, for example, has all the important college and pro games but Philo provides CBS Sports which features a lot of non-prime-time games, also FS1 is another unexpected channel of Philo that does the same,” Pierce said. “The DVR feature took me by surprise, I wouldn’t have expected Philo to have that.”

Tony CabralComment