Temple University Students Stay Tuned In Via Computer

Cable television streamed to laptops and desktops at Temple University's innovative student center.

by / November 14, 2007
According to VBrick Systems, Inc., Temple University's groundbreaking TECH Center is using VBrick to stream cable television stations to student laptops and building PCs. Students easily access the 12 cable channel streams, which are featured in the Temple University Web page that automatically appears when students log online at the TECH Center.

The TECH Center's "TV on the computer" application is just one of many features that makes the 75,000 square-foot facility one of higher education's most advanced resource centers and the nation's largest computer lab. In addition to wireless access, the center features 700 computers, 31 plasma screens in common areas, and 13 multimedia breakout rooms that include flat panel displays and white boards for collaboration on presentations and projects.

Opened in January 2006, the TECH Center received one million visitors during its first year, and currently averages 6,000 visitors daily. The TECH Center includes the University Welcome Center, the campus tour starting point for prospective students and their parents. The second floor features the expansive student center. Temple University's top-20 ranking in Princeton Review's 2006 "America's Top Wired Colleges" listing underscores the university's campus-wide commitment to incorporating technology into education and campus life.

"The TECH Center is an overwhelming success because it enables students to socialize, collaborate, and study -- without restricting them to a single activity," said Jerry Hinkle, director, TECH Center, Temple University. "As an urban campus it is important that we provide students with a place to gather that also provides learning tools."

VBrick's 12 television channel streams include local ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC affiliates, as well as CNN, ESPN, MTV, and additional news and entertainment stations.

"We decided to stream the television stations to computers because students today are wired to work on assignments while simultaneously tuning into news or their favorite shows," said Hinkle. "Additionally, we wanted student flexibility to select programming that they want on their computers, while eliminating the blaring noise from televisions bolted to common area walls."

Temple University selected VBrick based on its reputation as a market leader, as well as cost, management, and ease of use criteria. "Simplified administration is a critical requirement for all technology selections because we added 25 percent more PCs without increasing IT staffing," noted Hinkle.

The university selected VBrick's EtherneTV digital video solution, a turnkey platform to record, stream, and manage digital video across Internet Protocol (IP) networks. Customers use EtherneTV to create environments that share information, monitor facilities, stream television broadcasts, class lectures, training lessons, special presentations, and announcements to all authorized users -- live or on demand.

EtherneTV enables Temple University to stream cable programming using the same cabling and network as other data -- thereby simplifying installation and management. Six dual Windows Media-based VBrick network video appliances each encode two cable television stations. The VBrick Portal Server provides powerful access and management of all live and stored content. Temple University seamlessly feeds the easy-to-access content into the university Web page. IP multicasting technology ensures that streaming broadcasts consume nominal bandwidth, regardless of how many concurrent users stream cable programming to their computers.

"Instant access to breaking news and the world around you is high on students' checklists for determining which forward-thinking college or university they will attend," said Craig Myers, vice president, worldwide sales, VBrick Systems, Inc. "VBrick enables schools of any size to deliver live or stored video quickly, easily, and seamlessly. On-demand knowledge is critically important to the