Campus video service streams Oscar winners
Resident Select offers free on-campus alternative to Netflix
March 14, 2013, 11:11 pm·
Don’t have a Netflix account? No problem.
Now in its second semester, Resident Select — an free online movie-streaming website offered through the Penn Video Network, which supplies traditional cable TV on campus — now has 800 to 1,000 hits a month. However, PVN hopes that usage will expand in the near future.
Launched in August 2012, Resident Select is available through AirPennNet or Penn’s wired internet connections. It is also available in 22 Greek houses, which use the University’s GreekNet internet network.
“The Resident Select viewer plays [movies] similar to most other online streaming services, a la Netflix,” Mayumi Hirtzel, who oversees PVN, said in an email.
As of now, the selection of movies available on the site is varied. Students can currently access some of this year’s Oscar nominees, including “Argo,” “Flight” and “The Master.”
Recent blockbusters, independent films and classic films are also available, though the selection of movies changes periodically. “Les Miserables,” “Skyfall” and “Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part II” will become available in April.
Many of Resident Select’s films are also broadcast on PVN’s movie channels — channels 11 and 22.
Professors can also assign films to students via Resident Select.
“We encourage professors to contact us when they are using films to support their curriculum,” Hirtzel said. “We can license titles from most major distributors.”
Felicity Paxton, director of the Women’s Center, assigns documentaries for her courses via PVN. She said that when she experienced problems with the broadcast of a documentary for one of her courses, “Critical Approaches to Popular Culture,” PVN offered it to students via Resident Select instead.
Paxton added that Resident Select worked well and was convenient for her students.
College sophomore Vinny Sangiuliano said he enjoyed watching “The Godfather” trilogy, “The Young Savages” and “Raging Bull” for English professor Frank Pellicone’s course, “Italians in American Film: A Cinema We Couldn’t Refuse.” Sanguiliano added that he has also watched “Flight” on Resident Select.
“The site worked very well as I could skip to any part I wanted and there was little to no buffer time in between or even when starting the movie,” he said in an email.
Hirtzel explained that due to licensing issues, PVN cannot offer the service off campus.
According to its website, Resident Life Cinema — a division of Swank Motion Pictures, which contracts out its service to PVN — also offers on-demand movie streaming at Northern Michigan University, the University of Memphis and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.