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XOC-tablet-samplingComcast is starting the school year with an expansion of its “Xfinity on Campus” streaming service for college and university students, bringing the total number of schools involved in the program to 27, up from seven when the program was launched last year.

Seattle Pacific University is part of the expansion, along with Dartmouth, Loyola University, Yale, and many others. (Full list below.)

The service is offered to students living in on-campus housing. It’s included with the cost of their room and board, with the option to pay extra to upgrade to premium channels. Xfinity on Campus offers the ability to watch live and on-demand content, including 80 live channels, on smartphones, tablets and other Internet-connected devices.

It’s a way for Comcast to establish a relationship with a new generation of potential customers, many of whom would otherwise be just fine getting their entertainment on YouTube, Netflix and other free and low-cost video services. The company cites research showing that millennials spend 57 percent of their time watching TV on their devices — one indication of the new reality that Comcast and other cable giants are grappling with.

Comcast has also used the college program as a test bed for its broader consumer offerings. Executives said Tuesday that the Xfinity Stream service, introduced in July, was modeled on the Xfinity on Campus service.

As part of the updates to Xfinity on Campus, Comcast says it will shift students to the mainstream Xfinity TV app this year (away from a specialized Xfinity on Campus app) and give them access to a cloud-based DVR to record and watch shows on their devices.

The company says the service will be available at these colleges this fall: Benedictine College, Brandeis University, Bridgewater College, Chico State, Dartmouth College, University of Delaware, Drexel University, Emerson College, Goucher University, Lasell College, Loyola University Maryland, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Morehouse College, University of New Hampshire, Northwestern University, Regis College, Rider University, St. Michael’s College, Seattle Pacific University, Sonoma State University, Washington & Lee University and Yale University.

In addition, Carnegie Mellon University will trial Xfinity on Campus, and the service is coming soon to Tennessee State University.

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