Op-Ed

Emily Manns | Fulcrum Staff

Most students are weary of adding cable costs to their already long list of expenses, especially when most of the shows they want can be found online for free. Tivli, a newly developed cable subscription service, is attempting to make university-aged students recognize the benefits of having cable television without asking them to trade in their iPads for a TV.

It might seem foolish for students to pay for TV when the Internet and streaming exists. But if we want to see television mature and survive in the Information Age, this might be the way to go.

According to the Financial Post, both Harvard and Yale University have made this service available to their students free of charge. Both of the schools and Tivli are collaborating in an attempt to draw students back into the world of cable subscription and away from the likes of PutLocker. All students need to access Tivli is their student ID and a device that will connect to the Internet. Once it’s set up, you can access any of your school’s channels by converting them into an online viewing format you can enjoy on campus.

This program is in its early stages, but if you ask me, it’s a pretty big step in the right direction. Much of today’s TV content is targeted toward the teen and young adult audience anyway, so it makes sense that they should be the first ones offered a free ride on the bandwagon.

However, while this is great for students who live on campus, those who don’t may be out of luck. It’s not convenient or appealing to have a cable subscription you can’t access.

“Most students live off campus and aren’t going to make an extra trip or spend extra time [there] just to watch TV,” said Angie Florent, a third-year health sciences student at the University of Ottawa.

“It’d probably end up being something to do in class instead of pay attention, for a lot of people,” she continued.

I can’t argue with its potential to detract students’ attention from lectures, but this is a point that could be argued with a number of other things. The mere presence of a laptop can be distracting, but it all depends on how you go about using it that determines whether it will enhance or hinder your studies.

With where it is now, Tivli could just become a localized gimmick in the U.S. that has no chance of making it in the bigger market. The concept itself is a whole other story. If the cable TV industry could take this idea and apply it to more than just universities, it might find itself sitting on a pile of gold. This is a foundation for the future of television—one that breaks away from traditional boundaries without sacrificing the audience or the financial security of the business. Looks like we’ll be able to have our TV and watch it too.