Ann Arbor, Mich.–Education Realty Trust Inc. reports that its three-month test of Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) at one of its student housing properties near the University of Michigan, the Courtyards, has been a success. The REIT, which owns 56 student housing properties with nearly 34,000 beds within more than 10,500 units nationwide, says that it hopes the new technology will enable it to cut cable TV costs.
Providing IPTV programming represents a $15,000 to $25,000 capital investment compared to $30,000 to $50,000 for cable service, according to Educational Realty Trust. If IPTV continues to prove to be a useful technology, the standard delivery for cable TV service could be eliminated in many of its properties.
Even though “Internet” is part of its name, IPTV’s delivery is not through the Internet, so it doesn’t consume bandwidth in a residential environment–student housing–in which the residents are vast users of bandwidth. The IPTV signal is transmitted to a satellite dish on the building and then travels through a fiber optic network that students can access via hardwire or wirelessly into their preferred viewing choice: computer, iPad or TV. College students often opt for a big-screen in the living room for communal viewing, while using laptops and alternative devices for watching TV in their rooms.
To activate IPTV, the student residents in the testing group at the Courtyards downloaded a web application to access the content for standard definition or HD programming. After that, they had access to commercial-free channels. IPTV has a standard program lineup as well as on-demand service.
According to Education Realty Trust, keeping pace with communications technology is critical in marketing student housing. As for the Courtyards, the company says that the property is ahead in its pre-leasing for the next academic year by more than 33 percent from this time last year.
“The whole technology package is one of the most important amenities in today’s collegiate housing,” David Braden, vice president for management services of Education Realty Trust, tells MHN. “According to our surveys and experience, residents need and expect robust bandwidth, reliable cell phone reception and a generous cable television line up with HD channels.”