EDITORIAL: Students should have final say on IPTV move

April 1, 2005

With the distribution of the new Cisco 7940 phones, students can begin testing IPTV. We urge all students to go into these tests with an open mind and to judge the new system not based on any knee jerk reflex to automatically condemn any innovation proposed by ITS, but to really give it a fair shake.

It is important that students fully understand what IPTV will bring and what it will not before making up their mind as to its value. Human nature dictates that we focus on the negative aspects of any new system instead of judging the system as a whole.

For instance, many students have decried the fact that they will need to buy an additional set top box in order to view IPTV on regular television sets. However, these students have ignored the fact that many others do not have televisions and would jump at the chance to watch TV on their computers.

Other factors to consider are the picture quality on a computer monitor, availability of channels and remote control difficulties. After weighing all these, and other aspects of IPTV, students should only then decide whether to support this permanent change away from coaxial cable. In the end, the student body should vote through a referendum on whether IPTV is right for Brandeis.

That being said, ITS needs to stick firm to its commitment to honor the wishes of students. They need to give clear answers as to what channels will be offered, how channel line-ups will be decided and whether or not channels will be capped based on licenses. Most important of all though, ITS needs to go on record to say that if in a campus wide referendum the students vote against IPTV, they will honor their wishes.

We applaud ITSs commitment to innovation and for constantly looking for ways to make student lives better. However, it is the students they are here to serve, and we urge them to let the students decide just how to do that best.
We do have to say, though, we were allowed to get our new phones early and they are awesome especially the speakerphone.

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