Cable Services Discontinued due to Streaming

Jacob DeCarli ’22, Managing Editor

Cable services provided by the college for personal and campus T.V.’s have been discontinued due to the “emergence of streaming video products such as Netflix,” according to an email sent by Library & Information Services (LIS) on July 15, 2019. The email continued that LIS would monitor the internet connection to ensure that, “it can support any increase in video streaming.”

LIS explained in the email that there are Smart T.V.’s that can connect to the wireless network with an ethernet port but did not specify which models of T.V.’s will work. 

Devices that are not compatible with the WiFi must connect to the wired network. According to Director of Infrastructure Systems and Information Security, Kevin Truman, consumer devices like game consoles and Smart T.V.’s “can’t authenticate to the wireless network using WPA enterprise authentication, so we restrict these devices to the wired network.”

Although most devices are structured with an ethernet port, the devices listed by LIS that will not connect to the wireless network do not have a port. “Our campus wireless network is a very robust mesh network,” Truman said, “When these devices are active they advertise themselves and interfere with the operation of the campus wireless network.” 

Although LIS will continue to broadcast local cable networks and foreign language networks, some students acknowledge the inconvenience of limited access to cable. According to Olin Rhoads ’21, he understands that it may be more of a “frustration” without cable resources and that it is “somewhat inconvenient.” However, Rhoads said that he uses his gaming console and laptop through his T.V. via HDMI chord. “I still have access to almost everything I did before,” he said. Mason McIntyre ’22 said he wish he knew that Dickinson was reducing cable channels because, “I don’t know how I’m going to watch RuPaul’s Drag Race and any Bravo [network] show.”

Other students are not as upset by the cable changes. Zoe Moon ’20, said she was not “too upset” when the college removed cable services because, “I didn’t grow up with cable so I’m used to it.”  

In another email sent on Aug. 15 by the HelpDesk, students were advised on how to connect to the wireless networks and explained which devices will not connect to the network, including devices like Apple TV, Google Home, Roku T.V.’s and Amazon Fire sticks. 

Some students are not pleased with these limitations due to the popularity of the devices. McIntyre, who has a Roku device, said he is frustrated by not being able connect to the WiFi because, “I have no idea how to watch Netflix and my CBS all access.” He continued and said that he does not know which Smart T.V.’s are compatible with the WiFi and that “they [LIS] should recommend what we do instead of saying all TVs don’t work.” Moon, who also has a Smart T.V. that is compatible with the wired network, said she figured out how to setup the device “without the email—I didn’t even realize the situation until someone told me.” 

Students with questions regarding the connectivity of their devices should contact the HelpDesk for more information and assistance.