Today, when it comes to providing the best in-room TV experience for your hotel guests there are only 3 options.
- Satellite TV
- Cable TV
- Over the Air Antenna
With cable and Satellite TV providers offering a large variety of channels for residential customers, if you want happy hotel guests giving them just the local stations available on an over the air antenna is not a viable option.
So in this article, we will discuss the difference between the guest (and hotel) experience of cable vs satellite TV.
What Are The Differences Between Cable & Satellite TV
Aside from the technology platform used to deliver the television signal to the hotel property, there are many differences between cable and Satellite TV programming providers.
Let’s look at the 5 main areas of concern:
- Picture Quality
- Channel availability in SD and HD
- Compatibility with other hotel & guest technology
- Being ready for the future technology changes
- Cost vs Value and Cost vs Asset
High Definition TV Picture Quality
For High Definition TV, the choice is 720P vs 1080P.
Almost all TVs that your hotel guests are purchasing for use in their homes today are 1080P capable. A new high definition standard, 4K Ultra HD, has been released and is starting to see more general acceptance in the hospitality industry.
720p = 1, 280 pixels displayed across the screen horizontally and 720 pixels down the screen vertically. This arrangement yields 720 horizontal lines on the screen.
1080p = 1, 920 pixels displayed across the screen horizontally and 1, 080 pixels down the screen vertically. This arrangement yields 1, 080 horizontal lines on the screen.
720P broadcast is about 1 million pixels and 1080P is about 2 million pixels.
The 1080P broadcast has the potential to show a lot more detail. It is a very noticeable difference on screens larger than 27″.
Cable TV picture quality is limited by its technology to just 720P.
Most satellite television high definition programming today is broadcast in Blu-Ray quality or 1080P. DIRECTV is the 1st platform to offer 4K programming.
TV for Hotels Channel Availability
In their homes, Cable and Satellite TV subscribers both have a tremendous amount of channels available to them. The best subscription TV programming packages have 285+ channels with 190+ in HD.
So how about cable and satellite television packages available for Hotels?
Hotel television programming choices are:
Cable : 60-80 channels total with up to 60 (depending on # of HD local channels) in HD
Satellite: 160+ channels with 75 in HD + # of Locals available in HD
Cable TV packages available for the Hospitality industry from Comcast, Charter, Cox and Time Warner are very limited. Comcast’s top package has just 80 channels total including locals and they are the industry leader for cable.
By comparison, the best lodging and institutions package from satellite provider DIRECTV has 160+ channels with more than 75 in HD.
TV for Hotels PMS & IT Compatibility
Today your hotel televisions system is expected to do more than just show television programming. PMS integration to ease check out & billing, Guest Welcome Screens and Concierge services, Local Events and Services screens, ability to use personal devices like a PC, tablet or gaming device, are all expected services on today’s hotel TV.
The DIRECTV Residential Experience’s (DRE) new system is revolutionary in what it can do for your hotel and there is more coming 5/28/15.
The question you have to ask is how well will the technology in the hotel television system you are considering integrate with your IT infrastructure and your property management software systems.
Can legacy technology like cable integrate with your evolving IT systems?
Future Proofing your Hotel Television System
This may be the most important factor in limiting your capital expenditures.
Hotel TV System Technology Advances
In just a few short years TV for Hotels went from analog Standard Definition broadcasts that you could display on any TV to digital High Definition broadcasts in 720P that required a mpeg-2 flat screen television and then later an mpeg-4 HD television to digital rights management systems and or Veramatrix encrypted broadcasts in 1080P that require sophisticated head end systems to deliver.
The pace of the technological advances in Hotel TV and IT is growing ever faster and legacy providers like cable television have struggled to keep up with the changes. Cable’s platform limits their ability to provide the best possible viewing experience today and as technology advances they will fall even further behind.
Satellite TV providers such as DIRECTV are constantly working to bring you the newest hotel television system technology like the and more recently the revolutionary .
DIRECTV has also brought the TV experience guests love at home right now into your hotel rooms. Only with DIRECTV can you offer your guests the same remote control, the same interactive channel guide and even the digital video recorder (a very popular feature for luxury, business traveler focused and extended stay properties) that allows them to watch the shows they like on their schedule.
Advances in Hospitality TVs & Set Top Boxes
DIRECTV is working with hospitality television manufacturers Samsung, LG, and Philips to provide televisions with pro:idiom encryption built in and integrated DIRECTV receivers so you don’t have to have ugly, bulky cable boxes on top of your new high definition flat screen TV. (From the Comcast site – The XFINITY X1 Set Top Box from COMCAST is black, shiny, and measures about 18.5” x 13.5” x 2.5”)
If you are in a situation that requires a set top box, the DIRECTV client box is just 8.66″ wide, 1.12″ high and 5.75″ deep. It can easily be hidden on a wall mount behind the TV or to the back of the credenza. And because it utilizes RF technology, you will not have to see the receiver at all to change the channels.
All of these things help to make your hotel TV system easily adaptable for the constant changes in technology.
TV for Hotels: Cost vs Value
Cable and Satellite TV providers have programming packages for hotels that are priced similarly. Cable and Satellite TV providers have packages that offer subsidies to offset the cost of equipment or lease packages to lower upfront costs. Whether you are looking for a basic package or a top of the line package, your costs will be similar.
The difference is in the value you and your hotel guests receive.
Basic Hotel TV Programming Packages
- On cable the basic programming packages offer little more than your local channels.
- On Satellite TV provider DIRECTV, the basic programming package provides your local channels plus an additional 45 family oriented channels.
Mid Level Hotel TV Programming Packages
- On cable, mid-level packages offer your local channels plus premium channels like ESPN and HBO.
- On Satellite TV, mid-level programming packages provide 100+ channels including ESPN, ESPNews, ESPN2 and ESPNU + the availability of all 4 premium movie channels.
Top Level Hotel TV Programming Packages
- On cable, top level packages offer 60-80 channels with up to 60 in HD depending on the market.
- On Satellite TV provider DIRECTV, top level packages include 160+ channels with 75+ in HD. Channels including The Movie Channel, 8 Encore channels, and the most comprehensive sports programming: CBS Sports, Golf Channel, MLB Network, NBA TV, NBC Sports Network, NFL Network, NHL Network, Fox Deportes, Univision Deportes, and more!
The Biggest Difference Between Cable & Satellite TV
The biggest difference is Asset vs Cost.
With cable you get a wire coming into the wall that delivers a TV signal. Its simply a line item cost on your P&L statement.
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