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HBO Go comes to UB's campus

Streaming service now available to all on-campus residents

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When the new season of Game of Thrones premiers on April 12 at 9 p.m., students living on campus won’t have to use distant relatives’ logins to watch it on HBO Go.

Students returned to campus at the start of the semester to find pamphlets at their doors, flyers throughout the dorms and messages in their inboxes telling them they now had access to HBO Go. Gone are the days on-campus students need to beg their sister’s cousin’s aunt’s nephew’s brother’s niece’s girlfriend. HBO Go has come to campus. The university is calling the service a “soft roll out” and some students are still learning about their new access.

The streaming service offers access to the network’s many lauded series like Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire and Girls. The service is available through a variety of devices and now with their UB ID and password, students living on campus can access it at no additional cost.

Tavaine Whyte, a freshman African American studies major, saw a flyer for HBO Go in the atrium and went to check it out. He realized he could “watch whatever he feels like.” Now, he uses it to catch up on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and check out the library of movies HBO offers like Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix (Inherent Vice).

“I use it all the time,” Whyte said. “I’m not sure why we have it, but I’m not complaining about it. I’m definitely glad [they brought it to campus]. It gives me the opportunity to watch shows that I couldn’t otherwise, that I’d have to go through illegal means to watch, like Game of Thrones.”

Whyte said he loved the safety, ease and convenience of the streaming service.

Prior to signing up for HBO Go, Campus Living asked students what kinds of services they were looking for, according to Michael Koziej, a senior associate director for Campus Living.

Last year, UB offered on-campus students an on-demand movie service. The service allowed students to watch four scheduled movies a week.

“[Students] were able to on-demand any of the movies playing that week,” Koziej said. “We got really good feedback from our students that they liked the on-demand concept.”

With the feedback they got, Campus Living contacted its provider, Campus Televideo, about what services were available – HBO Go was one of the options.

“We looked into it. It looked like a good service and it wouldn’t add any expense to students’ rent, and we were able to do that,” Koziej said.

Campus Living got rid of the weekly movie selection to cover the cost of HBO Go.

Koziej said Campus Living worked with UBIT to ensure UB’s network could handle the streaming service before they finalized plans to make it available to students.

Koziej is quick to point out that HBO Go is only available for students living on-campus or in on-campus apartments. Campus Living is not affiliated with the Villas at Chestnut Ridge, Rensch or the University Village at Sweethome.

While students like Whyte love using HBO Go, others are either too busy to take advantage of the service or see it as a distraction.

“I found out about it through Yik Yak, actually,” said Shayan Ahmad, a freshman biomedical engineering major. “I haven’t looked at it yet, but my roommate uses it for Game of Thrones.”

Ahmad plans on using it for the “good movies and shows” it offers, but hasn’t had the time to check it out yet.

Michael Salotto’s roommate uses HBO as well, but Salotto sees it as an interference from his studies, aside from his interest in Game of Thrones.

“It would just be a distraction,” Salotto, a senior psychology major said. “I’m trying to get good grades this semester. I haven’t really looked to much, but I’m sure I’d find something else to waste my time with.”

Whether students use HBO Go or not this semester, Koziej said that HBO Go wouldn’t go into Campus Living’s official “literature” and promotional materials until next fall. For now, they’re seeing what students think about it.

“We’re in a testing phase right now,” Koziej said. “We got the product live just a month ago … I’d like to call this a soft roll out … While it’s provided for everyone and we’ve told everybody, we’re not doing the whole bells and whistles and ‘Hey, look at all these great things that we’ve got.’”

Koziej said he and Campus Living plan on following up with students and seeing what they think of the newly added service.

Students can choose to distract themselves with HBO Go and embrace the variety of shows, movies and entertainment options the service offers.

Luckily, they’ll pay neither the gold nor the iron price.

Jordan Oscar is the senior arts editor and can be reached at jordan.oscar@ubspectrum.com


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