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November 5, 2009

Hokies All-Access an easy way for additional Tech coverage

By: Jimmy Robertson

Click here to visit Hokies All-Access

A year ago, many Tech fans enjoyed the offerings of ACC Select, a broadband network service that allowed fans to catch ACC events over the Internet.

This year, though, that service started providing coverage only for ACC Championship events and certain non-televised ACC football and men’s basketball games, leaving a void for Tech fans who wanted to watch or listen to hoops games or certain Olympic sport events.

To fill that void, the Tech athletics department, the Virginia Tech ISP Sports Network and CBS Interactive have teamed to create Hokies All-Access, a new service on that offers not only game broadcasts, but also an array of options concerning Virginia Tech athletics events, teams and players.

There are two primary components to Hokies All-Access – audio and video. The audio component includes broadcasts of football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and baseball games, as well as Tech Talk LIVE!, the new interactive radio program that airs on Mondays from 7-9 p.m. Additionally, various Olympic sports audio broadcasts will also be available throughout the year.

The video component includes Virginia Tech Sports Today, ISP’s 30-minute weekly television show; Hokie Playback, the re-broadcast of Virginia Tech football games; weekly press conferences and a variety of other video features, including the occasional live game broadcast.

Some of the content is available for free, while some requires the purchase of a subscription. The free part of this service includes highlight packages, coaches’ interviews, press conferences and audio for fall Olympic sports events (through the fall only).

The paid content primarily centers mostly on live events. These include such things as Tech Talk LIVE! audio broadcasts; football game audio broadcasts; men’s basketball game audio broadcasts; women’s basketball game audio broadcasts; women’s coaches call-in show audio broadcasts; Hokie Playback (full game football re-broadcast video); Virginia Tech Sports Today (full length television coaches show video); Olympic sports audio broadcasts; and any audio and video game events produced by the athletics department.

The groups behind Hokies All-Access are intertwined. The athletics department provides the Web site and much of the video. ISP produces a lot of the content – most notably, football and basketball game broadcasts, Tech Talk LIVE! and Virginia Tech Sports Today – while CBS Interactive provides the actual audio/video player.

“Our goal with this, above all else, is to better serve Virginia Tech fans,” said Rick Barakat, vice president and general manager of the Virginia Tech ISP Sports Network. “We not only want to provide a lot of content, but content that is interesting and compelling, while also easily accessible. We understand that more and more fans are using the Internet as a source for information and for entertainment, and and Hokies All-Access are your solutions as it relates to Virginia Tech athletics.

“Our relationship with CBS is going to help us get our products and messages out to the public while allowing Tech fans across the globe 24/7 access to their favorite Hokie programming. CBS provides a quality audio/video product that is easy to learn and navigate, and we were looking to enhance our online audio and video offerings. Their product is simply better than most, and looking long term, that will afford us more opportunities down the road.”

Hokies All-Access is simple to use. Go to the Hokies All-Access link on the top right corner of and click where it says “Click to Launch Player.”

“People may need to install Microsoft Silverlight on their computers,” said Damian Salas, Tech’s Webmaster. “This is the program that CBS uses to power the player. If you don’t have Silverlight, just go to the Silverlight Web site ( and download it. It’s quick and it’s free. After you do that, you should be able to launch the player.”

Once one launches the player, he or she needs to click on the “register” link in the top right corner. This prompts a person to pick an option – either to watch the free events or to get a subscription. Once a selection is made, the person then will submit a password and be able to access the content.

CBS offers a couple of different pricing options for the paid content. A yearly subscription runs $79.95 and a monthly subscription goes for $9.95. There is a $7.95 charge for any pay-per-view events (which would likely only be the video broadcasts of live events). Signing up for the free or paid content also gives one access to any archived content.

“It’s a great product for the money,” Barakat said. “You’re getting a lot of content that you can’t get anywhere else. So we’re hoping Tech fans take advantage of that.”