Some Elon University students living on campus may be unable to watch live television broadcasts via the school’s new digital cable provider, Philo, because of a bug in a recent Roku software update.

Last December, students were informed via email that the university was transitioning “from traditional cable television to a new, state-of-the-art system that delivers live television over the data network.” Students were also told they would be able to access the service through their laptops, desktop computers, Apple TVs and Rokus.

On Jan. 9, Roku released a firmware update that has been causing some issues for Philo streamers. According to a Feb. 23 email from Philo tech support, Roku Express, Roku Express+, Roku Premiere, Roku Primere+ and Roku Ultra models are affected by the bug.

The bug makes it so that users are unable to load live broadcasts and previously recorded shows.

Freshman Caitie Marie Bell, a Roku Express owner, has been experiencing that exact issue.

“Now I can’t watch any TV, and it’s really sad because I just wasted money on a Roku. And the school knows there is a problem, and they still got rid of it,” Bell said.

According to the same email from Philo tech support, Roku’s next software update does not contain the bug, but that update is not supposed to be released until April.

“That’s a good deal longer than we were hoping. We’re terribly sorry for the prolonged inconvenience and frustration. As we are unable to fix their bug ourselves, we’ve been focusing our efforts on tightening our partnership with Roku to ensure this never happens again,” said Chris, a technical assistant at Philo, in an email.

Other students have not experienced issues with Philo and said they are happy with the new service and 59 channels it boasts. Philo also provides users the ability to record up to 20 hours per account, and unlike with most TV providers, users can record more than two shows at a time.

Sophomore Jack Hamilton has never had a problem with Philo.

“I really like Philo,” Hamilton said. “I am currently working with campus technology to get a Roku on my floor so I can implement my programming as a resident assistant.

“With my busy schedule with classes and extracurriculars, it’s difficult for me to kind of catch up on my shows, but it’s important to treat myself and kind of have a mental health time. So the ability to use Philo and catch up on my shows is a plus for me.”

Like Hamilton, sophomore transfer student Dyamond Howell was happy with Philo. Howell had it at her former university and was excited to find out that she could continue the service here.

“You can get reminders when the shows come on through text message, that is my favorite feature.”


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