Posted by Ric Garrido

I am not much of a tech person which is why I found an article from HotelWorldNetwork.com useful for explaining why hotel HDTVs usually have crappy reception. “Guests expect high definition on new TVs

One of the frequent criticisms I have made over the past year is the lousy TV reception on the 46” HDTVs I see in so many hotel rooms. Apparently the cost to update the TV signal is much higher for a hotel than a residential unit and when a regular signal is fed to an HDTV the picture is generally worse than an older box TV. I find it absolutely annoying when I am sitting in an upper upscale hotel room and the  picture image on the huge, flatscreen HDTV is worse than my 12-year old 32” box TV at home.

I estimate about 90% of the hotels I have stayed in this past year had flat screen HDTVs, and most were 42-inch or larger. I estimate fewer than 50% had any HD channels, only about 25% had good picture quality on most of the available channels, and just a few had more than 5 channels with HD reception. Several of the hotel room TVs this past month had reception which was reminiscent of TV top antenna days from the 70s.

Apparently there is a piracy issue with having the HD box in the hotel room. And the expense for the electronics to manage a hotel HD system is an investment not readily manageable for the time being in this economic climate.

The St. Regis San Francisco has a good alternative. The DVD player connection to the large HDTV allows the guest to watch movies rather than TV channels.

Perhaps I better enroll in NetFlix for the next couple of years of hotel travel until the HDTV upgrades are commonplace.

Digital TV channel at Westin San Francisco Airport

Digital TV channel at Westin San Francisco Airport

3 Responses

  1. Great post! I’ve found that the best way for me to figure out if hotel rooms are likely to be nicely, newly furnished is whether there’s a flat screen TV in the pictures of the rooms. My disappointment has been finding that when the size of the screen is not listed in a written description of the rooms anywhere, it’s almost always a small flat screen which is usually better then the old cathode ray tube TVs (unless the hotel only has standard definition stations). Then, I don’t watch much TV and move to another hotel the next day. The HDTV is becoming a major determinant of whether I stay at a hotel or not.

    Comment by Alex from Virginia on January 13th, 2010 at 2:44 pm
  2. The first time I stayed at a Hyatt Place (last year) I was surprised to find a large (46″ ?) LCD TV, and on top of that several HD channels. Even the non-HD channels had decent picture quality. I have since found the same at several other HP locations. So apparently Hyatt Place is able to do it. Admittedly, some of them were new/recent construction, but I think a lot of the HPs in the US are rebranded Amerisuites.

    What’s also nice at HP is the conveniently accessible interface panel to connect a laptop or media player to the TV. No rooting around behind the TV required. Just plug it in and off you go. Works great with my PMP (Personal Media Player), even though it’s not HD.

  3. I’ll be at a Hyatt Place tomorrow night. I have generally been quite satisfied with HDTV reception at Hyatt Place properties.

    One of the biggest changes I have seen in hotels these past two years are the easily accessible multimedia ports for guests to hook up to room TVs.

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