Step aside, Netflix. Greenstream is here and ready to stream movies for free!
There is a new video streaming service McDaniel called the Greenstream. Many students, however, seem relatively unfamiliar with its inner-workings and the process of how it came to be. Michael Robbins, the director of Residence Life and the person who undertook the formation of the service, offered some insight to the Greenstream.
According to Robbins, the process began as early as April or May 2013, when the provider, Resident Select, contacted him. However, the initial contact came too late, since, according to Robbins, “The budget cycle for the college is based on proposals going in in November or December.” Thus, he had to wait until the next academic year to submit a proposal.
The service was passed in the following year’s budget, but some work had to be done between the provider and McDaniel before the service could go live.
The main installment, among others, was a server from the company onto the campus. Additionally, IT had to work to identify the IP addresses that are on the campus. The IP addresses were compiled into a range and, says Robbins, “as long as you are using an IP address that ranges from X to Y you have access.” There was also the task of getting the server to connect to the network without compromising security.
The service was not live when students arrived in late August. It was formally launched on the Oct. 9, with fliers and door hangers distributed to students. It currently has eight titles per month.
For the first two months, out of necessity, Robbins says he picked the films with people around his office because the service wasn’t really live and announced yet. However, for the month of December, only two were picked by Res Life (since they come with discussion guides). Students got to vote on the other six from a list.
Any movie that is displayed publicly or advertised as such requires a much higher rental fee, which was a key factor that Robbins considered when looking into this service. According to Robbins, when Student Engagement would do those movie nights, they weren’t paying five dollars for that movie rental — they paid several hundred dollars.
Whenever a group wanted to play a movie on campus, it was an expensive event. The Greenstream service includes rights to publicly display, which is helpful to R.A.s and campus organizations alike, says Robbins.
Another major benefit of this service, according to the provider’s website, is that it does not use up bandwidth when students use it instead of other online streaming services. This could be beneficial to the many students dissatisfied with the internet speed.
Additionally, students without accounts to other streaming services will now have access to a selection of popular movies whenever and wherever they want. “Not everyone comes to campus with their own login for Netflix,” says Robbins, adding that the service gives students “an extra thing to do.”
It is even possible to view Greenstream movies on iOS devices with the Swank Media app. This adds to the ability to view movies anytime or anywhere that a student wants.
Greenstream will continue to provide eight titles per month as long as it gets a sufficient amount of use. According to Robbins, the College has a contract with the company and has the option after the first year to bow out if it determines that usage is not very high or if it’s not being well-used.
Robbins says that he will be asking IT for that information around the time that the spring semester starts and then he will make any determinations that he sees necessary.
The future of this service ultimately comes down to student use. If almost no one uses it, then it could be phased out, but if many students use it, then it has potential to stay and perhaps grow. The current contract allows for eight titles per month, which has the potential to be expanded, should students use the service enough. However, the main focus at the moment is essentially allowing students to have more things to do while they are on campus.
Overall, Robbins hopes that students and staff take advantage of Greenstream in terms of hosting events around films and that students enjoy it on their own.
To watch movies currently available through Greenstream at McDaniel, visit greenstream.mcdaniel.edu.