BW provides streaming cable television on a trial basis

Baldwin Wallace Streams cable TV, since when?  

This year, Baldwin Wallace is offering Spectrum University, a new streaming cable, and OnDemand service, to students that live on-campus. With Spectrum University, students are given access to 80 cable TV channels and OnDemand movies and TV shows. 

“For as long as I can remember the university has maintained cable TV,” said Greg Flanik, chief information officer at BW. But ten years ago, he said, the market started to change from a coax cable connection, which plugged into the wall and transmitted content directly to a TV, to streaming TV.  

Cable companies don’t produce their own content as some streaming services do. Instead, they buy content and package it to sell together on a service. When the market shifted, cable TV services had to adapt. And they did so by changing their medium. 

This decision to change to a streaming service was three years in the making after Spectrum Cable approached Baldwin Wallace about changing to streaming media.  

“We sent a survey out to students saying, ‘given the choice, what would you rather have: would you like to have cable TV or would you rather us invest in more internet bandwidth?’ And the survey results were about 50/50,” Flanik said. 

So, they decided to give it a try. 

“We’re essentially giving this a two-year trial run [starting this year],” Flanik said. “And then we’re gonna probably survey the students again and then evaluate and say, ‘Hey, is this of value? Do you still like it? Or do you want us to buy more internet, buy more wireless connectivity?’”  

Director of Telecommunications Deanna Mushat assists Flanik with the contracts, meetings, and information gathering.  

“With anything with technology … they don’t like to do long term contracts, because things change so rapidly,” Mushat said. “You know, there could be something better and greater next year [for the cable service].” 

BW offers cable, Mushat said, “because it’s like your home. You know what I mean? When you come to school, and you are in your residence hall room, that’s basically like your home away from home.” 

There are several players in the cable industry. But according to Flanik, none of them included everything the school was looking for. In order to be able to watch sporting events, and then get some of the traditional cable programming, a person needs to buy multiple subscriptions to different streaming services, Flanik said. But then the goal of reducing the amount of money spent on TV is not met since the bill for the streaming services almost equals what the bill was for the cable subscription.  

“So we looked at Spectrum University, and we said, ‘you know, this is really a one stop shop because all the sporting events are on here, then all the regular TV programming is on here,” Flanik said. “And then they’re also offering some on demand content, where you can just see certain TV shows.” 

Another reason BW switched to cable is that wireless internet was recently upgraded on campus, Flanik said.  

“Once [the students’] devices are on the network, they should have a pretty decent experience, provided they’re keeping up with their updates and they don’t have any malware or viruses on their machines,” Flanik said. And this will allow them to stream cable TV on their devices and really let them choose how they want to consume content.” 

BW chose Spectrum University over other providers because the school has worked with Spectrum before, according to Mushat. 

“Several years ago, we put in a fiber connection with Spectrum,” Mushat said. “And that was a different way for them to deliver the [cable] service. So, we sort of already had that backbone in place.  

“Our network manager, our infrastructure manager for the network, and the Spectrum technicians, they worked together with all the logistics as far as the setup.” 

There is, however, one incommodity: some content may be blacked out when viewed off campus.  

“They would rather you watch [certain content] on your television here versus [at home] so they might black it out,” Flanik said. 

Any internet enabled device can access Spectrum University via the website or the app found on any major app store. If using the app, Flanik said students should make sure to download the “Spectrum University” app and not the “Spectrum TV” app.