Dick Harmon: New technology helping BYUtv expand its global audience

Published: Friday, May 9 2014 3:25 p.m. MDT

"Fans don’t always accept or even understand why BYUtv isn’t airing an away game. Believe me, it is rarely because we didn’t want to but rather almost always because we couldn’t get the rights. The home team and/or conference almost always control the broadcast rights, including digital media rights.”

Another strategy by Marquis, Holmes and the broadcast team is offering more features than anybody in the industry, and doing it for free.

Said Holmes: "All apps on iOS (iPhone, iPad), Android, Roku, Xbox 360 and all websites (BYUtv.org, byutvsports.com) that stream live TV have unrestricted access to our entire video-on-demand library, including thousands of hours of sports content.”

BYUtv’s digital machinery is free, with no authentication from a cable or satellite provider. That’s what makes it popular to U.S. military members in Afghanistan, Germany, Korea and other bases of operations.

Holmes' digital team consists of seven full-time employees and some students.

Now that the Xbox channel came out April 22, Holmes and his crew are preparing major redesigns of their websites for 2015, including incorporating sports offerings into BYUtv's main site. A major update for iOS app is optimized for iOS 7. Hundreds of thousands have downloaded the BYUtv Apple platform. “It will be our best app yet,” said Holmes.

BYUtv's Roku channel "has been a home run," according to Holmes, with several hundred thousands users using BYUtv on that platform. BYUtv gets to Apple TV through AirPlay and Holmes' team is working on getting on Google Chromecast's platform, a technology that allows projection of programs from a phone, tablet or laptop to a tV.

So, if exposure was a goal four years ago when BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe announced departure from the Mountain West Conference, it's hard to argue that the school hasn’t made strides.

Big strides.

Dick Harmon, Deseret News sports columnist, can be found on Twitter as Harmonwrites and can be contacted at dharmon@desnews.com.

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