New tv advancements means infrastructure investments

This article is part three of a three-part series on the guestroom television.

All of the technological advancements in televisions require some additional investments in infrastructure and even customer service. The TV, whether it’s a smart one or it is satellite, needs to work efficiently and correctly, and the hotel guests need to understand how it works. Previous generations of wireless networks were designed for a few laptops using the bandwidth, not the multiple devices per room using Wi-Fi today.

Broadband capacity at most hotels may not be good enough for streaming content, especially at peak usage times, warned Doug Eichler, vice presidentVP of commercial sales for DirecTV.  “The television has to be simple and intuitive—it’s got to be and do everything the guest can do at home,” he said “It can’t create 10 problems by fixing one.”

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Streaming content consumes a lot of bandwidth, which means increased costs for hotels, said Oz Eleonora, chief revenue officer at SONIFI Solutions Inc. “Infrastructure isn’t free—people may want it to be, but hotels are going to need to pass along those costs to guests,” he said.

But Eleonora warns that digital rights will be more of an issue instead of technological capabilities to stream content.

“The license to put it on your hotel TV is different than the fitness room TV, which is different than the hotel bar,” he said. “The technology isn’t holding us back—we know how to give the guests what they want, but we will have a problem with the digital rights for all those hotel televisions.”

Eleonora believes that hoteliers and solution, content and bandwidth providers will need to come together to find viable business options to fight the rising costs of entertaining hotel guests. “The next few years will be very interesting to see what happens and how we work together to solve this issue,” he said.