Tulane, Cox partner on IPTV service

Tulane University is teaming up with Cox Communications on a campus-wide IPTV service which it says will save the cost of overhauling its existing RF-based cable TV system.

Although it may seem a bit surprising that the university would choose a cable operator as its IPTV partner--or that a cable operator would be working on a project that replaces RF with IPTV--that's not the case, according to Derek Toten, director of campus technologies.

"[W]orking with a provider like Cox means we may be able to offer more features down the road, such as premium channels, pay-per-view, or other specialty services," said Toten in a Tulane press release.

This marks the first campus IPTV system to be deployed by Cox--but probably not the last, as it will "serve as a model for future systems," the press release noted. Unsaid is that the campus model could also serve as a laboratory as the cable operator delves more deeply into IP-delivered video services.

Tulane has high hopes for the system as both a way to deliver video and a way to save money, Toten said.

"When the pilot is complete, IPTV service will be offered throughout the Tulane residence halls. Depending on the licensing, we may also be able to offer it to all Tulane users while they are on campus," Toten said. The service will be available only on the Tulane network and won't be available if users try to access it with devices from any off-campus location.

The plan is to start the service when the spring semester starts, beginning with a pilot by Tulane Technology Services.

"Switching to an IPTV service will also allow Technology Services to retire the aging RF cable TV system that currently serves the residence halls and other campus buildings," said Toten, estimating that such an overhaul would have cost "at least $1 million."

"Instead, the IPTV service will utilize the existing network infrastructure, and will take advantage of the recent upgrades," he concluded.

For more:
- Tulane University issued this press release

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