Comcast launches internet-delivered cable TV at MIT and several other schools

For several years now, Comcast has been testing cable TV that streams over the internet at several college campuses but this fall it's officially launching. Available at Bridgewater College, Drexel University, Emerson College, Lasell College and the University of Delaware included as a part of room and board, and on a trial basis at a few others including Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of New Hampshire, Xfinity on Campus brings live cable TV to PCs, tablets and phones -- as long as they're on campus. The package includes 80 or so channels and includes access to stuff like video on-demand and WatchESPN and HBO Go (if you have HBO), which will work even when they're off of the college's network.

Currently, there's no DVR option or even a way to put it directly onto a TV. On mobile devices there's an iOS app (with AirPlay disabled) and an Android app is in the Play Store, but apparently not quite ready for prime time yet. Comcast says an option to upgrade to a cloud DVR (Multichannel News points out that it's similar to the cloud DVR option available for X1 cable customers in a few markets already) where users can "check out" and download recordings to watch offline. The video can stream in HD, and while up to three devices can be activated at a time, only one on an account can stream video at a time.

While this makes for an interesting test case for the possibility cable TV for regular customers coming over the internet, Comcast has said that the point here is to hook young customers that aren't willing to watch TV just on their TV, and are opting for services like Netflix or Hulu (if they're paying for TV at all). If it can get them using the streaming service in the dorms, it figures there's a better shot at turning them into customers when they move off campus or after graduation. According to Multichannel News, Comcast plans to add other universities in its footprint to the program soon, although there's competition from a startup Philo, that also offers a cable IPTV package at several universities including Harvard, Stanford and Yale.