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Cable headaches

September 22nd, 2011

Students, staff and faculty members frustrated with cable TV difficulties on campus can refrain from calling Larry the Cable Guy.

The problems will be ameliorated by Oct. 1, according to JCU’s Information Technology Services and Associate Chief Information Officer Jim Burke.

The problems—which began not long after the transition to digital television was made in August—were twofold, and included complications with the channel numbering system as well as with audio. At the root of the problem with the audio difficulties is the lack of standards compliance by some of the television manufacturers on John Carroll’s campus.

According to Burke, the University’s cable TV equipment manufacturer, R.L. Drake, upgraded their equipment over the summer to be able to access new standards.

“Drake changed the software in their equipment and it wasn’t compatible with the televisions on campus,” he said.

Because of this issue, some students do not have audio on their televisions, but Burke said the majority of the students on campus seemed to be fine. Senior Hannah Dubyoski, who has an older television in her room, has not been able to access channels or audio on her TV.

“We haven’t been able to get any channels, not even the non-cable ones,” she said. “For some time we had TV Land and the John Carroll information channel, but we don’t have either of those now.”

The other problem, the channel numbering system, has to do with the television systems and their ability to tune in series of numbers.

“With the three-digit numbering scheme we were using, a lot of the older televisions were unable to tune in the series of numbers,” said Drake. “We didn’t realize that standard was so new, so we had to revert to the two digit dot one digit numbering scheme.”

The numbering scheme for which Burke describes identifies channels as 26.1, 26.2, etc. The previous three digit-numbering scheme used by ITS prevented some individuals on campus from selecting the channels on their televisions.  This was evident especially for those using the television sets attached to fitness equipment in the Corbo Room.

Senior Kelly Kern, who works at the desk in the Corbo Room, noted that a few people have complained to her in the past weeks about the TVs freezing.

It’s a problem she has come to notice as well.

“When I workout, the televisions pause almost every three seconds, even with standard channels like NBC and ABC,” said Kern. “I would expect it with ESPN and other cable channels, but not those.”

The software expected to be installed on the University’s campus this week will likely solve most of the problems Kern, Dubyoski, and other campus members are experiencing with cable TVs.

“Once the software is installed, we’ll be looking for reports on those so we can get out there and make sure everybody is happy,” Burke said.