Home » Hotel Television Systems » The Nuts and Bolts of Hotel Television Systems

The Nuts and Bolts of Hotel Television Systems

Staying in a hotel can be an escape from the stress of daily life. But evenings in your hotel room can get boring fast without entertainment. That’s where the hotel television comes in. Hotel TV systems provide in-room entertainment to make your hotel stay more enjoyable.

What Exactly is Hotel TV?

Hotel television refers to the in-suite programming and services offered on the TVs inside hotel rooms and other hotel lodging spaces. It encompasses the hardware, channels, on-demand content, and interactive features available.

Hotel TV aims to mimic and even improve upon the experience you have at home. At a minimum, you can expect access to local broadcast stations plus a variety of cable channels. Services often include video on demand, allowing you to choose movies and shows to watch whenever you want. Hotel TV packages range from basic to premium channel lineups.

Interactive platforms take hotel television even further. They let you access hotel information, order room service, view your bill, and more right from your in-room TV. Some hotels provide video games, web browsing, shopping portals and other amenities. The specific interactive features vary by hotel brand and property.

Free vs. Paid Hotel TV

The most basic hotel TV service offers free access to local and cable channels. This standard package comes included as part of your nightly room rate. Upgrades to premium channels or on-demand programming typically cost extra per night or per view.

Some hotel chains, especially luxury properties, are doing away with fees for in-room entertainment. All channels and on-demand content are complimentary. This helps create a high-end guest experience. Of course, eliminating TV charges allows hotels to hike up the base room rates. But frequent travelers are often willing to pay more for a seamless, all-inclusive stay.

How Hotel TV Signal Gets to Your Room

Behind the scenes, hotel TV systems rely on a complex network to deliver programming. The three main options are:

  • Satellite master antenna TV (SMATV) – This setup receives a satellite signal via a dish on the roof. It then transmits the channels through the building on coaxial cables to reach your in-room TV.
  • Cable TV – Similarly, hotels can pipe in content from a cable provider over interior coaxial wiring.
  • Internet protocol TV (IPTV) – As the name implies, IPTV sends television programming as data packets over the hotel’s internal internet network. This is the most advanced option.

Dedicated set-top boxes decode the signals in each guest room. Newer Pro:Idiom TVs integrate the decoding technology right inside the unit. This provides enhanced content protection for hotels.

Content Sources for Hotel TV

Where does all that great hotel TV programming actually originate? Some common sources include:

  • Satellite – Major satellite TV providers like DIRECTV and DISH allow hotels to access their extensive channel lineups. This delivers popular national cable networks.
  • Cable – Local cable companies offer TV service to hotels just like residential homes. However, channels are usually provided via a bulk commercial contract.
  • Over-the-air (OTA) antenna – Television signals broadcast over the airwaves are free. An OTA antenna on the roof enables hotels to pick up local stations.
  • In-house channels – Many hotels create their own branded content like welcome videos, event schedules, menus, area info, etc. These hotel-specific channels provide useful information to guests.
  • On-demand programming – Movies, TV shows, and other web-based content can be streamed on demand through a hotel IPTV system.

Hotel TV Signal Distribution Methods

How does the TV signal actually get delivered from the external source into your hotel room? There are a few common distribution methods:

L-Band Systems

Also called satellite master antenna TV (SMATV), this setup transmits the satellite signal at super-high frequencies from 950MHz to 2150MHz, known as L-band. A control box in the wiring closet modulates the signal for distribution over interior coaxial cables to reach your in-room TV.

Headend Systems

In this arrangement, the external TV signal gets encrypted at a central headend unit. This provides content security before distributing channels through the hotel. The Pro:Idiom system by Technicolor is a popular headend technology. It works with cable, satellite, and IPTV sources.


As mentioned above, IPTV delivers television programming over the hotel’s internal internet protocol network. This integrates TV with high-speed internet, on-demand services, and interactivity. However, an IPTV hotel TV system requires advanced IT infrastructure.

Hybrid Networks

Some hotels combine IPTV distribution with traditional coaxial cables. For example, cable or satellite programming can come over coax lines while interactive hotel channels and on-demand content get transmitted via IPTV. This takes advantage of both technologies.

The right hotel TV distribution method depends on your property’s technical capabilities, budget, and future needs. An expert vendor can help identify the optimal system design.

The Future of Hotel Television

TVs continue getting smarter, and hotel TV is no exception. Some innovations on the horizon include:

  • Augmented reality travel guides on hotel room TVs
  • Personalized channel lineups and recommendations
  • Consolidated controls through mobile devices instead of remote controls
  • Voice commands to access hotel TV features and hospitality services
  • Virtual reality programming and 3D content
  • Targeted interactive ads based on guest interests and behaviors
  • Casting/streaming capabilities to play internet videos from smartphones on the in-room TV
  • Integrations with other smart devices like thermostats, blinds, and lighting
  • Next generation OTT content integrated into the interactive hotel TV platform

As you can see, technology keeps expanding what’s possible with in-room entertainment. The hotel TV experience today would seem like science fiction just a few years ago. Guests now expect and demand these conveniences as part of a tech-enabled hotel stay.

Providing innovative television amenities also helps your property stand out from competitors. An advanced hotel TV system shows guests you prioritize their comfort and satisfaction. Working with a knowledgeable integration partner ensures you implement hotel TV solutions that meet your needs today and tomorrow.

Post Tagged with :

Comments are closed.