This past weekend, more than 3,000 students on the Stockton University campuses in South Jersey moved into their dorm rooms, many of them carting televisions.
But the reality is that old-school cable-TV — a package of linear cable channels — is barely relevant today to college kids raised with on-demand video, DVRs, and functionality-rich smartphones.
Realizing the trend, Comcast is now two years into offering Xfinity on Campus that replicates the home cable-TV experience, unchaining college students from the televisions in their dorm rooms through content available over campus wireless WiFi. Over that same network, the service makes available on-demand video and 20 hours of DVR recording capacity.
This year, about 100 campuses have signed on to Xfinity on Campus, offering it to hundreds of thousands of students at Pennsylvania State University, University of Maryland, and Florida State University, in addition to dozens of smaller institutions.
Stockton agreed to it, a university official said, in part because student leaders asked for it.
“Very few students watch live TV anymore,” Bob Heinrich, chief information officer at Stockton University in Galloway Township, Atlantic County, said on Tuesday. Xfinity on Campus “replicates the experience that kids in their homes get from their cable or satellite providers,” Heinrich said.
Xfinity on Campus is part of the cable service offered to resident students and does not cost extra for them or the university, Heinrich said. The students need to authenticate with Xfinity on Campus using their Stockton credentials to take advantage of it. The cable services are paid by board fees.
Because Comcast does not distribute set-top boxes to students on college campuses, the Xfinity on Campus on-demand content and DVR recordings is available only on mobile devices such as smartphones or laptops. If students would like to watch the content on televisions themselves, they have to buy a Roku device such as the streaming stick.
Xfinity on Campus was launched in 2015, with about 20 colleges. A year ago, the number was expanded to about 60 colleges. And, today, about 100 campuses. Among other regional schools with Xfinity on Campus are Delaware, Penn, Villanova, West Chester, Temple, Rider, Drexel, and Juniata.
Comcast says the most-watched shows by college kids on Xfinity on Campus this spring were the NBA playoffs, Sports Center, Grey’s Anatomy, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.