IPTV is the new buzz word in the hospitality sector and with good reason as it opens up a whole new world of interactivity and endless possibilities, which ultimately increases guest satisfaction and if designed correctly, will increase hotel revenue. However IP unified communications systems can provide much more than just TV to hotels. In this article we shall explore some critical elements that can dramatically benefit hotel operators by implementing an IP unified communications system.
Lets take a look at some of the key points regarding the current conventional technology used in vast majority of hotels today. Conventional TV systems (Hotel MATV) consist of 2 main features:
– A limited number of Live TV channels due to the coaxial cable networks installed
– NVOD or Near Video On Demand
RF technology falls short of providing any additional information and interactive services that may provide any real benefit to the guest and hotel at the same time. NVOD in itself is quite limited and is more than an inconvenience to guests as it requires them to wait for the movie to start, rather than immediately viewing the movie once the movie purchase has been made.
Standard MATV Technology
The overwhelming majority of hotels currently use standard MATV systems to provide TV to their guests via RF (radio frequency) equipment and cable called ‘coaxial cable’ which was invented by Oliver Heaviside way back in 1929. Although the cable is widely used in most hotels and is a legacy technology, it is utilized to provide TV channels, NVOD movies and some promotional media. However MATV systems fall short of giving any real interactivity or depth to the hotel’s communications network. What most people don’t realise with current hotel MATV systems is that even though the channels come from a digital source, in 99% of cases the channels are actually converted and broadcast in analogue, thus greatly reducing picture quality, adding probability of interference which most of the time results in ‘snow’, thus, amongst so many other factors, basically resulting in a sub-standard service compared to today’s high standards. Whereas IP Unified communications systems work on full digital IP technology.
Conventional TV system shortcomings:
– Channels are broadcast in Analogue and in standard definition
– No High Definition Channels are possible using analogue
– Poor picture quality TV channels
– Susceptibility to Interference
– Lack of personalization for guests
– Limitation of the number of TV channels offered
– Incapacity to provide interactive features to guests
– No capacity to provide interactive e-commerce or marketing
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