The HITEC Show is in full swing in Baltimore, Maryland and we’re here to see it! Being on the road has its disadvantages — like slow hotel internet — but we’ll give you the news as best we can.
Let the politicians argue, but from here it looks like the recession is over. This show is full of high-end, high-tech hospitality… and the emphasis is on glitz and glamour. Huge touch screens, in-room entertainment, and everywhere you look, high definition. If there was one overwhelming theme here it’s that HD is here today, and here to stay!
The “biggest hit of the show” award has to be a tie between Samsung and DIRECTV. DIRECTV showed their DRE: DIRECTV Residential Experience 2.0 and their booth was consistently busy. I have friends there and I could barely get a word in edgewise. This new technology is making waves all right, because it’s just what the hotel guest really wants… a DVR and DIRECTV service just like at home.
As for Samsung, if I didn’t know better I’d think they were sponsoring the whole show. Their TVs were everywhere. As well they should be… their commercial line is every bit as gorgeous as their residential line with slim bezels and bright images. Their commercial TVs add apps designed for the hotel room as well as back-end compatibility with today’s commercial IPTV and encryption schemes.
Philips wasn’t far behind though, partnering with DIRECTV to provide a TV with integrated DIRECTV receiver specifically designed for DRE. This makes for a fast and clean installation experience. Both DIRECTV and Philips showed this TV at their booths and it looked great.
While I was at the DIRECTV booth I saw the final version of the RC70H hotel remote. It’s a little different looking than the RC70X that’s used with the RVU boxes, and it’s easy to tell them apart both from the shiny black front and the silkscreened warning on the back that it will not work with home equipment.
There were several other folks at the show who really made a splash. I talked to Doug from Technicolor. Technicolor makes the successful line of HR20, HR21, HR22, and HR24 DVRs for DIRECTV Residential and they also have the COM1000 system. Their new version of the COM1000 will let you configure 24 HD or 36 SD DIRECTV sources for easy wiring and distribution as well as allowing off-air insertion of additional channels. The easy wiring and setup of the COM1000 makes it a favorite for any economy-minded bar or hotel and it’s also the only system that offers PSIP guide data on every channel.
I also spent a lot of time visiting Pico Digital. They’re the only company that makes QAM modulators specifically for hotels and it makes a difference. They invited me to their San Diego, California facility for a tour in the next month and I look forward to it!
Wherever you went, there was integration with tablets (especially iPad.) The rallying cry this year is “BYOD” or Bring Your Own Device. The industry knows that people want to bring their entertainment with them, and every vendor wants to sell you a system to let iPads and other devices connect to home entertainment system. LodgeNet showed off their iPhone app but they were hardly alone.
Tomorrow’s another day on the show floor and I’m looking forward to getting more video and photos… and possibly having a good, stable internet connection with which to post them.