While smart TVs can allow guests to bring their content with them on the road, cost and bandwidth continue to be obstacles.
“We haven’t seen a major shift to smart TVs in the hospitality space,” said Alexandra Sewell, executive director of hospitality services and cross-segment verticals, Comcast Business Servcies. “That’s not to suggest it’s not happening. It’s on the horizon, but many hoteliers have recently invested in moving from standard to high definition, and they won’t move away from that investment.”
Sewell noted that the shift to smart TVs is more pronounced in the luxury and upper-upscale segments, but that it remains cost-prohibitive for small to midsize locations. While that could change as costs drop, it’s not yet a shift en masse, Sewell said.
Other hotel operators blame cost issues on the current capital-investment model.
“The whole model of having to make a capital investment every two to three years just to stay current has got to change, because the industry cannot support that method,” said Chuck Marratt, regional director of IT for Hotel 1000 in Seattle.
Bandwidth is also an issue. “A major question is if the hotelier has the bandwidth to support content across multiple devices,” Sewell said.
Keeping the guestroom current remains important, Marratt noted, because hotels need to keep pace with what the guest has at home.