This is part three in a series on guestroom TV design. Click here for part two: Designers sort out TV positioning.
Smart TVs, sometimes referred to as connected TV or hybrid TV, go beyond presenting movies or broadcast channels. With a Smart TV, a hotel can create a more interactive experience, letting guests surf the web on a 42-inch monitor (or larger), connect their own devices or stream programming from services like Hulu or Netflix.
Smart TVs have been a growing presence in hotels for years, and may well become a constant presence if the devices catch on in private homes the way flat-screen TVs did 10 years ago. Numerous hotels already have these TVs, and designers will have to start taking the needs of the new technology into account when creating a room.
"Hotel Smart IPTVs, [including] LG's ProCentric Smart models have built-in Ethernet and Wi-Fi capability," Mike Kosla, VP of Hospitality for LG Electronics USA explained, "so they require a dedication of bandwidth, either via wireless access points or CAT5 or 6 wiring, for [Internet Protocol] support." LG technology also supports and IP-over-coax option, he added, so hotels don't necessarily have to rewire. "The design of the IP network needs to be taken into consideration for the linear channels, over-the-top applications and movie content." However, he noted, the screens do not need any extra surrounding space in order to function well, allowing for a variety of display choices.
While Smart TVs can technically be embedded in a mirror or hidden in a pop-up cabinet, Kosla said that these are not a good fit for these devices, often because of cost.
"Most mirror TVs are located in the vanity area and are relatively small in screen size when compared to a guestroom television, he said. "As for televisions located in cabinets, we're seeing those going away rapidly in favor of larger screens that are either placed on a credenza or mounted onto a wall, freeing up valuable real-estate in the room."