How Android-Powered TVs Ensure Guest Rooms Always Feel Cutting Edge

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How Android-Powered TVs Ensure Guest Rooms Always Feel Cutting Edge

By Peter Vinke, Director of International Key Accounts at PPDS - 01/14/2021

With the full financial impact of COVID-19 lockdowns currently unknown, investing in new technology is likely not at the top of the agenda for many hotel businesses. But it is something that remains crucial in order to retain a competitive edge, retain guests and attract new ones with positive reviews and feedback. This means that any technology investment that does happen must have a well-defined return on investment.

Enter: the guestroom television.

A guestroom TV is one piece of hotel technology that is given little thought if it works properly but is loudly complained about if it doesn’t. Keeping pace with guests’ viewing demands and how they choose to consume content (linear, streaming, casting) is a necessary and often costly requirement. But in today’s world, it really doesn’t need to be, nor should it be. When buying a new hotel TV, it’s important to look at the bigger picture. While HD screens, specific screen sizes and design are all important, they shouldn’t be the only considerations.

A TV THAT GETS BETTER WITH AGE

Keeping your TVs fresh, new and relevant, whether for a small B&B with a couple of rooms or a larger resort with hundreds or thousands, doesn’t need to mean a constant and hugely expensive rotation of stock. Instead hotels can have a fleet of TVs, all with the same features and functionalities, regardless of when they were purchased. How?

First launched in 2014 into consumer markets, Android TV is a configured version of the Android operating system by Google (81% share of the smartphone market), designed for use on a variety of solutions, including digital media players, set-top boxes, soundbars, and TVs. The first integrated commercial Smart TVs were launched in 2015 from several manufacturers, including from Philips. Harnessing the power of Android, and the might of Google (who spent $26billion on R&D in 2019 alone), TVs are now able to evolve and include new features and functionalities as part of regular and sometimes transformative upgrades – literally allowing them to improve with age. 

FEWER REPLACEMENTS, REDUCED E-WASTE

For many businesses across the globe, including here at PPDS, improving sustainability and ‘green’ credentials is a key focus.  Each year in the UK, two million TVs are dumped, many of which are fully working but simply deemed outdated and worthless. Globally, there is more than 40 million tons of electronic waste discarded annually (the equivalent of 800 laptops a second).

In the past 18 months or so, Android-powered professional TVs, have become more prevalent in professional settings – a push spearheaded heavily by us here at PPDS and, for the benefit of the wider market, pursued by our competitors.

CONSISTENCY IS KEY

With Android, like a smartphone, TVs can be regularly updated – thus improving with age. This means all the latest features and updates, be they from Google, PPDS or from our third-party partners are added without cost. This ensures TVs remain consistent, whether purchased yesterday or years before, in every room, while (aside from physical damage), reducing the regularity of replacement.

What’s more, all this can be done entirely remotely – removing long and tiresome manual updates in each room, potentially disturbing or inconveniencing guests. With a few clicks of a button, every TV in every room can be updated to perform like the very latest models without the expense.

The benefits of these free updates are boundless. For example, the latest Android 9(P) upgrade, made available in November 2020 across Philips MediaSuite TVs, brings new features to meet guests’ expanding needs and developing viewing habits. MediaSuite TVs come with Chromecast built-in as standard, allowing guests to cast their own content from their compatible laptop, tablet, or smartphone to the room display. They also include access to thousands of popular apps via the Google Play Store, such as news channels, YouTube, Spotify, and the like.

And now, Philips MediaSuite TVs include access to popular non-linear media-on-demand services, including Amazon Prime, Disney+ and Netflix. Netflix subscribers alone have recently surpassed 72 million, while Disney+ has more than 60 million.

Android TVs allow hotels to effortlessly keep pace with consumers. So ask yourself, can you see the bigger picture?