Fast forward to the
present day, 2010. Very little has
changed. The hotelier now pays for the TV and the content, the TV is much
flatter, but the quality, in many cases, has gotten worse.
What? You ask. After
spending over 150 nights a year in hotels around the world, I can attest that
this statement is true. Today's TV sets are in a16.9 format, digital, and some
are in HD. That doesn't mean that all video content is broadcast in that
format. I have seen too many properties that have attempted to fill the full TV
screen to its maximum. This leads to large distorted images on the screen, or
portions of the top and/or bottom cut off. To make matters worse, the color
adjustments are not set properly and we now have green or bright red people
with disproportionate bodies. (Halle Berry, what have they done to you?)
Expecting at least the
quality of home TV, many guests get upset, and surely make a mental note
regarding their next visit to that property. This is only the beginning.
Forget about PPV revenue. The guest will not want to pay to see such a poor
quality distorted picture. You may even lose that repeat guest.
To meet today's
standards you must also have a "pro:idiom"
compatible set. Please see: http://lgcommercial.com/content/featured/downloads/proidoimfactsheet.pdf
. Many sets that were bought just 3 - 4 years ago are not compliant with these
standards. Therefore, the hotelier faces replacing non pro:idiom TV sets, or paying for an expensive work
around. One of our clients was getting ready to spend over $100,000 on new TV
sets until we showed them an inexpensive solution. The words "commercial
TV set" do not mean "Hospitality". Two
HDMI. Yes my sets are all connected via HDMI
cables, so I'm OK. But are you? What version of HDMI cable are you using? There
are many different versions being specified and used in hotels today. The ones
that are in most common use today are HDMI V1.3. (For discussion sake, we won't
get into the subcategory issue.) If you are using the 60Hz HDTV in your rooms,
you are fine. However, if you are using 120Hz or 240Hz HDTV, you must use HDMI
V 1.4 cable. Please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDMI#Version_1.4 . Otherwise, do
not waste your money on these sets and just buy 720P sets and use any good
quality HDMI 1.3 cable. Remember, this cable must run from the HD signal source
to the HDTV. The least expensive method is to run the HDMI cable from a STB
(Set Top Box) to the HDTV. Do not use cable runs with HDMI cables longer than
five meters. Anything longer, amplification must be used. An internal
infrastructure of RG 6 is mandatory.
The HDTV field is loaded
with landmines. You do not have to step on these; There
are many good vendors and consultants available to assist you. Make sure that
the vendor has your interests at heart, and offers many different brands. Check
with your content provider as well. Make sure that the services you want
are offered. Utilize the expertise of a good hospitality consultant who knows
this subject well and has had a lot of experience with the different TV and
content providers. Do not have your in-house maintenance person set up
your HDTV sets. They can install it, but bring in a professional to have the
color and screen resolutions settings adjusted correctly.
Look to the future. We
are in the midst of a content and technical period of innovation and rapid
advances. Interactive TV will soon be commonplace as will 3-D HDTV. In-room
teleconferencing will become commonplace soon as well. Internet Video is
Each year at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) we observe dramatic increases in TV technology. Prices continue to decrease and quality and screen sizes continue to increase. Remember to"THINK GREEN". LED HDTVs exceed all ENERGY STAR requirements and may even result in tax credits that will actually help defray your HDTV costs. They will also cut your electrical bills considerably over conventional, same size screen LCD or Plasma TVs. Your room HDTV sets should have the following as a minimum: 720P, 2 HDMI ports, two USB 2.0 ports, Pro:Idiom compliancy, Ethernet connectivity, WiFi enabled, smart media card capability, iPod connectivity, VGA input, and a coax connector. Remember, these are minimum requirements.
Les Spielman is president of Hospitality Automation Consultants Ltd., an independent consulting firm. With more than 20 years of experience in the lodging business, he provides assistance with automation tasks on a personalized basis. Hospitality Automation Consultants Ltd. has successfully completed over 2,000 consulting projects throughout the world. He was just reelected to his third consecutive term to the Board of Directors of the Society of Telecommunications Consultants. His practice is global. Spielman welcomes inquiries at:
Hospitality Automation Consultants Ltd