University's TiVo service: Student on-demand heaven

Summary:UK university students can now access a shared, on-demand, web based TiVo-like service. Could the academic world be part of the live broadcasting genocide? Article

Bournemouth University with the British Universities Film & Video Council (BUFVC) have widened out and increased availability of a new dedicated on-demand off-air broadcast service.

The service acts as an all-round and on-demand TiVo like system, where anyone with a subscribing UK university username and password can access a shared schedule and record any free-to-air programme, while allowing anyone else to view it afterwards. Imagine it like TiVo except it's web based and shared, so anything you record can be watched by anyone else and you can watch what has been recorded by another student.

Oh, did I not mention that it's totally free to subscribing universities?

Not only can you access free-to-air television channels, such as the BBC main four channels, but also Freeview which includes digital channels such as Russia Today, Fiver, Sky News and CNN, but also a wide variety of radio stations, totally up to fifty different television and radio channels.

This service is not only useful for students who want to unwind with a relaxing (or academically appropriate) television programme, but can also be used in lectures instead of finding and splicing YouTube videos. With the built-in clip editor, you can select a piece of a programme which is relevant to the lecture or presentation and hotlink to it, or embed it directly.

Because this service does not broadcast live programmes, a television licence is not necessary to watch any of the content; a relief to many students. There are strict licensing guidelines to follow though most users will not need to be aware of these.

This service is particularly useful to student at universities where broadcaster's on-demand applications such as Sky Player and BBC iPlayer which integrate peer-to-peer technology is not allowed by the IT policies, as this streams over the HTTP protocol with Flash player.

This is a good example of the academic community recognising the needs of not only lecturers and teaching staff, but the increasing trend among the Generation Y and today's student to on-demand television as opposed to the traditional live broadcast. Though live broadcasting will not be overtaken by on-demand for a while yet, with increased bandwidth capabilities and higher-definition content being added to the web all the time, scheduled broadcasting is facing its online nemesis.

I just wish the United States had something like this for its students.

Does on-demand television the future of the traditional scheduled broadcast channels? Have your say.

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About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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