Tomorrow's TVs

High-definition and flat-screen TVs invaded the hotel industry several years ago, and today nearly every new full-service and many select-service properties have the highest-quality TV equipment in their guestrooms and public areas. Yet, manufacturers continue to innovate with new products that should please ever-more-discerning and -demanding, hotel guests. Here's a look at the latest in televisions for the lodging industry:

For Panasonic, bigger is better. The firm recently introduced a 103-inch plasma TV, which for now is the largest available plasma on the market. With an effective display area of 89 inches wide by 50 inches high, one display is the equivalent to four 50-inch TVs.

Last summer, the Hyatt Regency Chicago installed two of the 103-inch units side-by-side 30 feet off the ground in its appropriately named BIG Bar.

At the New York Hotel Show in November, Panasonic released new plug-in cards for its 10 Series 37- and 42-inch plasmas. The cards enable Pro:Idiom encryption of premium content as well as compatibility with LodgeNet and On Command entertainment systems.

Philips markets an extensive line of flat-panel LCD sets with features designed specifically for the hospitality industry and in sizes from 26 to 42 inches. Philips' Smart Card and Smart Plug sets include Pro:Idiom technology and are compliant with numerous pay-per-view providers.

The sets have Pixel Plus HD technology that is designed to enhance HD images to appear smooth and lifelike. The HDMI connections support secure digital video and up to eight channels of digital audio.

Philips also markets a variety of other hotel-specific products, including digital signage systems, lighting, audio systems, defibrillators and personal care products.

At the Hotel Show, LG Electronics introduced several new guestroom flat-panel sets: a full HD, 1080p 42-inch LCD with integrated pay-per-view technology and digital rights management software; and a new enhanced-definition 32-inch plasma set. The LCD unit is compatible with HD programming from more than 150 national, 1,500 local-broadcast and DIRECTV sources. The 32-inch plasma allows hotel owners to replace CRT TVs with lower-cost flat panel displays.

Beyond the guestroom, LG offers a range of digital signage sets for lobbies, restaurants, bars and other public spaces. The units' I-Cast-ready, Internet protocol technology allows hotels to deliver information or entertainment content to multiple screens from a centralized operations center.

Among its other electronics offerings, NBG provides an extensive line of Vyou television displays for the hospitality industry. The seven-set LCD offering ranges from 15 to 47 inches.

Most sets are HD-ready and have 181-channel tuners. The 37-inch model supports picture-in-picture, while the 42- and 47-inch sets have 3D comb filters. Other products available from NBG include DVD/stereo systems, portable DVD units, LCD displays, wall mounts and play panels.

Sharp Electronics recently expanded its line of Aquos LCD HDTVs with new HT3 models that are available in 32-, 37- and 42-inch screen sizes. The units have built-in pay-per-view interfaces for LodgeNet, On Command, nStreams, NXTV and Sea Change. They also include an integrated Pro:Idiom digital rights management system.

The sets feature Sharp's proprietary Advanced Super View LCD panel for a sharp contrast ratio of 6000:1.

The HT3 line was designed to match hotel guestroom decors. The units have a piano-black finish and thin profile bottom-placed speakers, as well as a removable table stand that allows for wall placement for fitting into existing hotel casegoods.

Park Media recently introduced two new high-definition LCD Internet protocol televisions specifically for the hospitality industry. Both the 32- and 37-inch models are completely IP-ready, with all circuitry integrated into the set housing.

Features include a 16×9 aspect ratio screen, 1080 high definition, 3000:1 contrast ratio and a wide viewing angle of 178 degrees in all directions. The sets also feature wireless Wi-Fi network connections.

Standard safety glass covers the screen to protect the sets from guest damage. The cabinets are gloss black and come standard with swivel bases. The stereo speakers are bottom-mounted to fit more easily into existing guestroom cabinetry.

At the Hotel Show in November, Sony Electronics featured a full range of hotel electronics, including display units for both guestrooms and digital signage, LCD projectors for meeting rooms and network security cameras for security and surveillance.

Among products introduced at the event were a ruggedized 52-inch LCD display that is build to withstand high-traffic volumes in lobbies and meeting rooms. The full HD resolution display is housed in a dust- and tamper-resistant aluminum chassis and has a field-replaceable glass front panel and built-in LAN connectivity and is fully self-ventilated.

The company also introduced a high-definition digital signage player that Sony says delivers seamless playback of content with no black during the video switching process.

For more information on suppliers of television technology to the hotel industry, use the reader service card in the back of the magazine: Panasonic, circle 110; Philips, circle 111; LG Electronics, circle 112; NBG, circle 113; Sharp Electronics, circle 114; Park Media, circle 115; Sony Electronics, circle 116.

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