Dish Drives Hotel TV Density

Dish Network will look to help hotel partners migrate their in-room systems to high-definition television with the launch of SMARTbox, a higher-density video distribution system designed to deliver a wider range of high-definition and standard-definition TV channels to guest rooms.

Rather than relying on modified residential receivers, Dish is pushing ahead with a hotel-centric platform that can provide between 36 to 96 HD and SD channels. That’s “an improvement over the industry standard of 12-24 HD channels,” the company said.

Dish said the nine-inch-high SMARTbox will essentially replace and do more work than a legacy, seven-foot-high, multi-rack-unit platform. In addition to a 93% reduction in rack space versus older systems, the SMARTbox also requires 90% less power, Dish said.

“As hotels face increasing costs to transition to HD, SMARTbox will deliver digital HD capabilities and analog SD from a single unit, making it ideal for hotels transitioning to new TVs,”said Alistair Chatwin, director of product management at Dish, in a statement. “This enterprise-grade solution also benefits management by providing greater reliability, configurability and increased uptime while reducing the total cost of ownership.”

Dish debuted SMARTbox at the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC), taking place this week in Minneapolis.

Hospitality services has become a growth area for pay TV operators as they do grapple in the sector against rivals such as LodgeNet, which emerged from a pre-packaged Chapter 11 reorganization in March, and came out of it with an expanded agreement with DirecTV. 

On the cable end, Comcast’s commercial services arm has launched a division called Comcast Business Hospitality, which recently won a deal to supply voice trunking, HDTV, and Ethernet-based Internet services to seven hotel properties run by Raymond Management  Company.  The business services units of Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable have also put a focus on hotel services.