As the name suggests, it’s the technology that allows the guests in hotel rooms to watch videos on demand which may include movies, music or more variety of videos such as documentaries, travel videos etc. In this article we shall take a look at the VOD technology that runs on Internet Protocols or IP in short. This is the latest, efficient and convenient technology as of today.
How to build Hotel VOD system?
A basic Hotel VOD system running on IP protocol comprises of five main technology components –
Streamer or streaming server
Decoder or Set top box
Subscriber & Content management system/OSS
Encryption & DRM
Let’s take a look at functions of each of these components –
Encoder – The encoder essentially convert the source content into appropriate codec such as MPEG2 or H.264 and packages it in appropriate streamable format like MPEG2 TS to make it work effectively as a “On demand” content. The most popular video codec used today in IP based VOD systems are – MPEG2, H.264 and WMV.
Streamer or streaming server – It stores and streams the content to the decoder box which located at user end, in this case a guest room. The critical part of streaming server feature is the amount of variety content it can stream at any given point of time and the number of concurrent streams it can handle concurrently. There are certain limitations imposed by hardware, hard disk access speed, network port speed and inherent limitations built in a streaming software. One more critical factor is the ability to mimic the trickplay which is same as fast forward, rewind and pause function of a DVD player.
Decoder or Set Top box – This is a small receiver unit very similar to a satellite receiver box in it’s physical appearance. The Set top box input is a RJ45 LAN port, which allows it to communicate with the IP/LAN network within the Hotel. The important features of this box is to present the list of content to the user/guest along with the related information of the content. User can navigate and watch the content using the STB interface with the help of a remote control. E.g. a movie is displayed with it’s synopsis, duration, movie cast, a preview option and the price to watch it. It allows users to consume content at convenience and comfort.
Subscriber & Content management system/OSS – This piece of software allows you to enter user details, STB details, manage content and keeps track of the content watched on demand by various guests. Most Hotels has a Property Management System(PMS) that takes care of billing of all hotel’s facilities. Most popular PMS systems comes with API that can be used to integrate the VOD system records with main billing.
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