The 180,000 hotels around the world are increasingly looking at ways to differentiate themselves to potential guests, especially in the face of the rival 10 million properties now listed on sharing economy services such as Airbnb. One of the ways that hoteliers can increase guest comfort is through improved in-room entertainment services that offer a ‘better than at home’ experience.
Access to high quality premium content has been a major benefit of satellite TV services, and with SAT>IP, an innovative industry protocol, hoteliers now have a simpler way of increasing the reach of these service to not only the in-room TV but guests’ own personal devices such as laptops, tablets and mobile phones. Another benefit for hoteliers is that SAT>IP can open up innovative new revenue models by allowing guests to access personalized subscription packages, such as sports, movies, TV shows or content for kids.
Through SAT>IP hoteliers can offer guests a totally seamless multi-screen TV experience, including 4K content, without the need for a high-speed broadband connection. The technology takes a conventional satellite TV signal and converts it to an IP based data stream. This can be transmitted across a standard wired or wireless IP network and viewed on a multimedia and IP compatible devices, such as smart TVs, PCs, tablets and smartphones.
SAT>IP can also simplify room refurbishment projects by integrating live premium TV alongside video on demand services, delivered over a single IP network to anywhere within a resort. As SAT>IP works on the existing IP networks, hoteliers will not need to drill holes or lay extra cables throughout their premises to enable it. Any hotel needs an IP network anyway, so why not deliver a TV service anywhere?
As the adoption of UHD TVs becomes more mainstream, the demand for 4K sports matches, movies and top series continues to grow. Guests’ demand for high quality content across several multi-screen devices can place a huge strain on hotel’s broadband bandwidth and internet speeds which can result in a negative experience for any guest watching TV or browsing on the hotel WIFI. The ability of OTT services to deliver premium, linear 4K content is still limited by the lack of FTTH and other high-speed broadband technologies. Globally the average broadband speed is only 9.1Mbps, according to research compiled by Cable. This makes satellite, with its downstream bandwidth of up to 500Mbps, an attractive option for the delivery of 4K premium content irrespective of local broadband availability.
A key benefit of SAT>IP is the ability to deliver advanced, high quality multi-screen services to locations where broadband is not reliable enough to handle live, high-definition video. This means that even remote holiday destinations where high speed broadband infrastructure is too expensive to deploy would greatly benefit from SAT>IP. Using SAT>IP in areas of low broadband speed will democratize access to high quality, multi-screen TV experiences, guaranteeing high quality video services to customers globally.
The adoption of SAT>IP could also open up the potential for new and innovative revenue models. For example, guests could opt for a kids TV bundle on their iPad, a popular TV shows package on a laptop and premium sports and movies on the in-room TV. Having multi-screen functionality is also extremely valuable as consumers are reaching a tipping point where more video content is viewed on a secondary screen or device that is not the main TV.
The SAT>IP Alliance brings together world leading satellite operators, manufacturers, broadcasters and service providers to promote the use of SAT>IP technology as the best way for satellite TV providers to deliver live content to any TV screen, smartphone, games console or tablet. The SAT>IP Alliance membership (Arcadyan, Eutelsat, HISPASAT, Irdeto, MaxLinear, NAGRA, Panasonic, SES, Verimatrix and Zinwell) has created a whole ecosystem of easy to deploy, flexible, solutions from over 40 manufacturers. SAT>IP can be delivered using satellites covering 95% of the globe, potentially reaching over a billion viewers. Combining satellite with an IP network enables hotel operators to deliver a “better than home” experience by offering customer high quality entertainment options across multi-screen, multi-device with ease.
Thomas Wrede is the President of the SAT>IP Alliance and the Vice President, New Technology & Standards in the Video business unit at satellite operator SES in Betzdorf/Luxembourg, where he and his team are responsible for providing strategic recommendations regarding innovative technology developments in the video, IP and communications technology segments. Thomas’ team is also responsible for developing new satellite reception products and solutions.