Ashley Nault - Jul 7, 2014

The TVs in our living rooms are getting a lot smarter but the average traveller is still relying on mobile devices for entertainment away from home. Hotel televisions are are need of some modernisation in order to catch up and fulfil the needs of guests and some top companies think they have the answers.

This modern approach to hotel televisions focuses on choice and connectivity.

One of the main aims here is to let guests access a wider range of content; some companies like Sonfi – who currently offer programming to almost 1.4 million hotel rooms – are looking to provide a range of different films between 99c and $4.99 and, in some cases, they are looking to specialise their content by viewer needs, such as health and fitness content at spas and other resorts focusing on medical or wellness tourism. This issue of choice also relates to the growing need to use tablets and phone for entertainment while travelling. Sonfi's research has shown that the average guest only watches 30 minutes of TV in their hotel room and Samsung, a major competitor in this plan for modernising hotel TVs, has noted that business travellers are often bringing their own devices because they are so used to bad content.

A better range of pay-per-view programmes is a great start but it seems that most guests would prefer to view their own content on these screens and that means a needs for better connectivity. Many travellers load up their devices with films and other entertainment options to watch them at airports and on train journeys, but why should they continue to use these small screens when there is a perfect, large screen in their room. Content mirroring is a big part of these new ideas, such as Samsung's use of AllShare Cast for Android, and it is especially appealing because not only will it let users send films and Netflix stream to a bigger screen, there is also the opportunity for these disillusioned businesses travellers to view their emails on the TV and for holidaymakers to see their photos. 

Greater content and connectivity is ideal as long as it is handled well. 

For many companies, this venture is all about keeping up with modern trends and the appreciation of the dependence on tablets for entertainment while travelling. TVs are now additional screens in a much wider, highly connected, multi-media set-up and these changes should help to bring home comforts and convenience to a hotel room in a more modern way. However, to do so successfully, companies have to keep things simple and familiar, such as using little more than a pre-existing wi-fi and well-known apps like Airplay; this needs to be an extension of what guests are used to rather than a whole new concept.


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