5 Fundamental Questions (and Answers) Regarding Hotel TV Systems

Hotel TV Systems - TWS Transworld

By Jeremy Pate

December 16, 2020

1) How does a hotel TV system work?

Hotel TV systems, sometimes also referred to as Hotel TV, are the in-suite television content presented in hotel rooms, other hotel environments and in the hospitality industry for in-room entertainment. They are the foundation for delivering direct entertainment to guests with hospitality TVs. These types of TV systems are also used in hospitals, assisted living, senior care and nursing homes.
These services may be free for the guest or paid, depending on the service and the individual hotel’s or hotel chain’s policy. Generally these services are controlled by using a remote control directly by the user. 

2) What are the different types of hotel TV systems?

 Hotel TV systems are divided into several categories L-Band distribution systems:
• HD Headend Systems – Pro:Idiom or digitally-encrypted for high-definition Satellite TV Programming from DIRECTV and Dish Network
• IPTV- based – We cover all of the details of this category in Question #3
• DIRECTV Residential Experience for Hotels (DRE) DIRECTV COM1000 / COM2000 System

Free-to-Air (FTA) Hotel Television is generally available in two forms:

Free to Guest (FTG) Services: FTG services in general use today are local channels and satellite or cable programming. Satellite & Cable programming can include more than 100 channels with providers, such as DIRECTV, now providing more than 100 HD channels for hotel guests.

Interactive Television: Interactive television provides services such as Video on Demand (VOD) or any other paid services. In general, Interactive Television consists of movies, music, adult content, and other services.

Interactive services can include:

– A hotel welcome screen with hotel information

– Hotel services – check out, room service, laundry, bill viewing, wake up calls, etc

– An information portal with weather, news & local attractions to video games & other fun, digital activities

– Internet applications such as Twitter, Facebook & other social media via internet television

– Movie rental services

– Shopping for the hotel’s amenities as well as products & services from local and national companies

3) What is IPTV software? 

Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), also known as Smart TV Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), is a system through which television services are delivered using the Internet Protocol suite.

This service is delivered over a network, such as the Internet, instead of being delivered through traditional terrestrial, satellite signal, and cable television formats. This system requires a CAT 5/6 wiring set up, and cannot work over coax.

IPTV services may be classified into three main groups:

  • Live Television / Live Media
  • Time-Shifted Media: e.g. Catch-up TV (replays TV shows that were broadcast hours or days ago), Start-Over TV (replays the current TV show from its beginning)
  • Video on Demand (VOD): Browse, select, and view programs in a stored media catalogue
Video Server Network (IPTV Deployment) – Depending on the network architecture of the service provider, there are two main types of video server systems to consider for IPTV deployment: centralized and distributed.
The centralized architecture model is a relatively simple and easy to manage solution. Since all content is stored in centralized servers, there is no need for a comprehensive content distribution system. Centralized architecture is best implemented for a network that provides relatively small VOD service deployment, has adequate bandwidth, and has an effective Content Delivery Network (CDN).
Distributed architecture is equally implementable as the centralized model; however, it has bandwidth usage benefits and system management features that are essential for managing a larger server network. Hospitality companies that plan to utilize a relatively large system should therefore consider implementing a distributed architecture model as a foundational step. Distributed architecture requires planned and sophisticated content distribution technologies to maximize the effective delivery of multimedia content over the Hotel TV system network.

Apart from transmitting classic TV channels, the following interactive services are also provided by IPTV:

  1. On Demand: On Demand any personalized delivery of video content to a subscriber. This service provides users the ability to watch any movie, tv, etc from the VoD server’s media library.
  2. Near Video on Demand (nVoD): This is a pay-per-view video service intended for multiple users within the subscription to an nVoD service. The content  schedule is already arranged, and subscribers can look at the schedule to watch content according to their interest.
  3. Time-Shifted TV: Time-shifted TV lets subscribers view live broadcasts later so they can playback and resume at their convenience, just like any video streaming service.
  4. TV on Demand (TVoD): Selected TV channels are recorded so they can be viewed at the users’ convenience.
  5. Live Television: With or without the previously mentioned interactivity added to broadcasted TV shows

4) What is the process for installing a hotel TV system?

Hotel TV System Wiring

There are several important details to understand regarding the wiring and installation of Hotel TV Systems. The type and configuration of your hotel tv system wiring will determine what television system type you can take advantage of and the type of HDTV you should purchase.

  1. What type of wiring does your hotel property have:
  • RG-6
  • RG-59
  • RG-11

2. What is the configuration of the wiring for your hotel TV system:

  • Home Run: A cable runs directly from each guest room to your main distribution room or central distribution room, generally found on every floor, with no splitters
  • Series or Daisy Chain: A single cable run in series / daisy-chained from every room with splitters and amplifiers

Hotel TV Programming Suppliers

After determining the type of system, encryption and TVs that are best for you, you still need to choose a supplier of the actual television programming.The 1st choice you have to make here is what definition you would like. If you have purchased 1080P enabled televisions, you will want 1080p or Blu-Ray quality programming.

Once you decide on the quality of signal you want you will have narrowed your choices for programming. HD programming from Cable and OTA is only available in 720P, a lower level of quality. Satellite programming is available in 1080P, with DIRECTV delivering more channels in HD and all its HD programming in 1080P.

We help you to find the programming package that best fits the desires of your guests and your budget.

5) What are the best manufacturers of hotel TV systems?

There are five primary types of HD Hotel TV systems on the market currently. Our hospitality technology experts can help with the consultation of which one best fits your needs.

1) COM3000 HD/4K Headend TV System

The New DIRECTV COM3000 Headend by Technicolor is the latest in a line of revolutionary headend television systems from DIRECTV. It is the smallest and most powerful headend TV system available for hotels, RV parks and campgrounds, assisted living facilities, senior living facilities, healthcare, college and corporate campuses, institutions, bars, restaurants, and other commercial applications.

2) COM2000 Hotel Headend Systems

Technicolor COM2000 HD Headend SystemThe COM2000 is an upgrade to the COM1000 that has become the industry standard since its release in 2009.

This plug-and-play system drastically reduces the required space (3U) and energy consumption (225w) for a hotel headend system. The COM2000 is optimized for any of the current DRM encryption systems.

3) COM1000 Pro:Idiom HD Headend Systems

The industry standard in HD Television Systems for hotel properties over 250 rooms or that have brand standards requiring Pro:idiom DRM encryption.

It’s a groundbreaking system that provides hotel guests with the same TV experience they get at home: full channel availability and a Co-Branded welcome screen system, which includes local information and checkout features.

4) L-Band

An L-Band Hotel TV distribution system is a television system for multi-client properties where the programming from satellite antennas is distributed via coaxial cable to the room where a receiver placed at each television is used to make the channel selection and provide DRM encryption.

This is the most common type of hotel TV system found across the US (with over 20,000 installations according to the SBCA).

5) IPTV – Internet Protocol Television

If you are using an IPTV-based hotel television system, the TV programming is distributed from your television headend to your guests’ rooms via your hotel’s Local Area Data Network (LAN) via CAT 5/6 cable.


Please let us know how we can assist you in selecting the perfect hospitality technology solutions.