The magical kingdom of Westeros and corrupt boardwalks of Atlantic City are now more accessible for UCLA students.
The UCLA Student Technology Center announced Friday in an email that students living in UCLA housing will now have access to their own HBO GO and MAX GO accounts, without additional charge.
Andres Campos, a programming analyst at the Student Technology Center who negotiated the service with HBO, said those living on the Hill and in Weyburn Terrace and Hilgard House will have access to the service.
The deal originally came out of a dissatisfaction with the old HBO service the Hill was providing, said Valerie Vahling, director of information technology in UCLA Housing and Hospitality Services. Previously, students had to pay $16 a month for channels with low resolution, she said. She said she hopes the new service will mean fewer students resort to illegally downloading popular HBO shows like “Game of Thrones.”
Last year, the Student Technology Center purchased a new set of headend processors, which bring the signals from the networks like HBO together and transfer them to the TV. Vahling said the funds came out of the Student Technology Center’s operating budget.
With these processors, students with cable TV access were given five channels from the HBO network, also offering its HBO GO and MAX GO to UCLA as a part of the package. This service is already available at more than 40 other college campuses.
The service allows students to create an account with the two film and TV streaming channels, using their UCLA student ID and choosing UCLA as their channel provider.
Vahling said she thinks HBO was eager to bring this service to UCLA, because the number of students living in university housing would provide a large market for them.
The Student Technology Center usually waits to get feedback from students before rolling out new services, Vahling said; however, since the service does not additionally charge students, the center decided to announce it and then collect student surveys in around 30 days to give students time to try out their new accounts.
Cheska Zaide, a first-year business economics student, signed up for HBO GO immediately after receiving the email and watched the first episode of the show “Silicon Valley.” She said her friends would often talk about shows on HBO, but she couldn’t afford it herself.
“I don’t have Netflix – no good ways to waste my time, so I needed something,” Zaide said. “This is filling the void in my life.”
Jenna Davis, a first-year chemistry student who already has HBO GO and MAX GO at home, said the service will not change her viewing habits.
“Some people probably have it, like I do, already,” Davis said. “(Aren’t there) other things that you get a discount for schools?”
Contributing reports by Lindsay Weinberg, A&E senior staff.