Closed-circuit cable television may come to Harvard student suites in the near future, complementing a service already available to most of Cambridge, house masters said in a meeting last week.
The proposal to contract Continental Cablevision was received with enthusiasm and few lingering doubts, masters interviewed said yesterday.
At a meeting of house masters last week, a proposal was made that cable T.V. service be made available to the houses. The response was highly enthusiastic, especially among the masters of the Quad houses. Cabot House Master Jurij Striedter said that he was "in general, very interested" in having cable installed in Cabot House. North House Master Woodland J. Hastings is "in favor of it, if it can be done nicely."
But the masters did express concern that the process of installing cable service might be disruptive to residential life. Striedter said he is concerned with technical and aesthetic problems, such as where to lay cable wires at the Quad.
In actuality, the Quad may be the easiest place to begin testing the cable service. According to Hastings, cables with the capacity to provide up to 8 or even 16 channels were installed in each student's suite during the latest renovation, and although currently unallocated, they may conceivably be used for computer or cable service.
There are many problems with the cable scheme that would have to be resolved before it could become a reality. Lowell House Master William H. Bossert said also that there is the question of whether every student will be required to purchase cable service. He supports the plan "only if it allows each student to decide whether to subscribe or not on an annual basis."
Cable at Harvard, if it ever occurs, will not just be another excuse to avoid studying. According to Continental Cable, there are many possibilities with closed circuit, rang- ing from link-ups with MIT to satellitecoverage of events in Washington to live coverageof visiting dignitaries speaking at the KennedySchool of Government. And Alfred Pandiscio,associate director of telecommunicationsengineering services at Harvard says there is thepossibility that Harvard itself will be able tooriginate programs of its own. Perhaps one dayHarvard audiences will be able to watch housedrama productions, improvisational comedy shows,or the Crimson nightly news on T.V. without everleaving their rooms.
Even if the proposal is approved by themasters, Quincy House Master Michael Shinagel saidthat the issue would have to be approved by thestudents. Dana M. Bush '91, a member of theresidential committee of the UndergraduateCouncil, said the cable proposal was discussedlast year, but there was friction with ContinentalCable over the idea of students cancelling theirservice at the end of each academic year. Thiswould obviously have to be the case if masterslike Bossert are to support the plan. According toBush, the topic hasn't been discussed yet thisyear
Pandiscio said that Continental Cable iscurrently installing taps for cable servicethroughout the Harvard campus. Intended primarilyfor educational purposes, four taps will go toRadcliffe and 7 to ten will go to Harvard. Eachtap will provide access to strictlynon-entertainment services, but retain thecapacity to be easily upgraded to carryentertainment. As it stands now, however, none ofthese cable taps is slated to go into aresidential dorm.
A spokesperson at Continental Cablevision saidnegotiations are underway to install cable in someof the houses, but that the wires would not go inbefore next summer