"HDTV" in hotels, hospitals, etc? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 358 Old 09-30-2007, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
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We have a very technical thread on MATV systems and the DTV transition going, over on the equipment forum.

But, I was wondering if anyone has had experience with the hotels, hospitals, sports bars, etc that claim to have "HDTV" available? (I'd love to just fly around the country, checking in to various hotel suites, and doing my own research, but I haven't won any lotteries lately ).

Any experiences? Did they have ALL the channels in HDTV? Just locals? Were they really digital, or just analog, converted from the Digital OTA signals? What kind of programming was offered?

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post #2 of 358 Old 09-30-2007, 11:58 AM
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You might want to PM vegggas. He has some experience developing these systems in Las Vegas hotels.
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post #3 of 358 Old 09-30-2007, 12:05 PM
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I stayed at the Faimont in Dallas which had two Samsung 40" TVs in the suites. Unfortunately you could only get the analog stations via cable. Was hooked up to Lodgenet box and remote only. Was disappointing. They don't advertise HDTV though, that I know of.
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post #4 of 358 Old 09-30-2007, 12:55 PM
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On my last stay at an Embassy Suites in La Jolla, CA a few weeks ago, I had a 36" or 40" LCD HDTV (in the family room, not the bedroom). The local networks were the digital feeds -- I remember seeing the morning shows (Good Morning America and Today) in HD. The PPV service also had a selection for High Definition movies, though I didn't buy any. Thought it was interesting to see both the use of local digital stations and HD PPV.

I've stayed at other Embassy Suites and not had this. I seem to recall only one other hotel that had HD (local digital) channels available -- don't remember what hotel that was. Of the approximately (guessing here) 30 hotels that I've visited in the last year, I would guess that about 10 had LCD's capable of HD, but only the two have had HD programming available. I stay at a lot of Hilton family hotels, but not exclusively. So, my numbers are tilted toward experience at that one brand. I don't recall seeing it advertised at any hotels, but I wouldn't have noticed this anyway.

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post #5 of 358 Old 09-30-2007, 01:02 PM
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My sample of one is Moffitt Hospital in Tampa. All the rooms have HDTVs, and they all show stretched SD channels. :-(
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post #6 of 358 Old 09-30-2007, 01:24 PM
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I stayed in Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

HDTV was supposed to be a plasma with HD

HDTV was very old....not sure what kind....and the HD was maybe the worst I have ever seen

Very bad experience
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post #7 of 358 Old 09-30-2007, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenglish View Post

But, I was wondering if anyone has had experience with the hotels, hospitals, sports bars, etc that claim to have "HDTV" available?

With respect to sports bars, that's a personal beef of mine... Flat Panels DOES NOT EQUAL HiDef despite what the banner out front may say !!!

I travel quite a bit and it seems to be getting better, particularly in larger towns with greater competition between saloonkeepers but for a good long time (like most Americans, so the polls indicate) few sports bar owners could tell if they were showing HD or not.

There was an story in the Chicago Tribune some months back about an ESPN Sports Zone bar opening up in the Windy City, and how they spent the better part of a half-million bucks to get the place outfitted with video gear. They also talked with a few local bar owners who were none too happy about the need to drop a load of cash at thier own place to keep up with that kind of competition.

I guess at the end of the day most folks are heading the right direction but what a pain to get there...
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post #8 of 358 Old 09-30-2007, 02:22 PM
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I have only seen one bar in Tampa FL that has HDTV with some good displays. "The Oak Room".

Everywhere else, I've seen all the HDTV's stretched because they don't want to deal with the SD simulcast being 3 seconds faster with the rest of their TV's
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post #9 of 358 Old 09-30-2007, 02:26 PM
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When I stayed at the Westin in Arlington this spring they had LG 32" lcds in the rooms and several HD channels, including about half of the local networks. The Shane's Rib Shack near my house is the only restaurant or sports bar I've been in with HD content on their HDTVs.
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post #10 of 358 Old 09-30-2007, 02:55 PM
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I've been to a couple reasturants/bars that actually show HD on their HD so it's getting better
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post #11 of 358 Old 09-30-2007, 03:36 PM
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The Four Seasons in NY has plasma HDTVs in their hotel rooms and they have HD via cable. I watched ESPNHD and HDNET as well as the local NY HD stations while I was there.
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post #12 of 358 Old 09-30-2007, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthonyB View Post

I have only seen one bar in Tampa FL that has HDTV with some good displays. "The Oak Room".

Everywhere else, I've seen all the HDTV's stretched because they don't want to deal with the SD simulcast being 3 seconds faster with the rest of their TV's

Why does that happen?
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post #13 of 358 Old 09-30-2007, 03:51 PM
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IMO most hotels don't get it yet. Too many are spending big bucks on nice large plasmas, but feeding them with the same old crappy analog in-house diluted MATV signal, controlled by their proprietary STB with its dumbed-down useless remote. No wonder many lay people are confused! They check in to the lovely vacation hotel, think they're seeing HD, and think grainy stretched SD is the real deal.

Example: this spring my wife and I were at the ResortQuest Waikiki Beach, and I was elated to see a brand new Panasonic plasma on the bureau. After 5 minutes scanning the available channels, I was disgusted. They get a feed from a very good local CATV provider (TWC Oceanic, I think) but trap out all the HD signals and upper analog channels to make room for their in-house on-demand channels.

Never one to walk away from a challenge, I found that although the STB remote woudn't drive the TV, all its menu functions were available from the side-mounted buttons. After connecting an OTA "antenna" (a paperclip and a 15 inch hank of wire into the rear antenna F connector), resetting the aspect controls and adding the OTA found channels to the in-house CATV channels, we were watching stunning HD from the locals in less than 5 minutes.

This hotel could add OTA HD to every room with a rooftop antenna and a 2nd distribution cable for peanuts. Or it could change the in-house headend band plan and allow the TWC feed into the sets for in-the-clear QAM watching; the TV nicely integrates both inputs into a single channel list. Or it could get a new STB that preserves the in-house system but adds HD decoding as a bulk subscriber to TWC (but maybe that type STB isn't available yet??)

For a few moments I had visions of starting a new business in Honolulu, helping hotels get ahead of the HD curve. An interesting job in paradise! In the end we got on the plane home but I can't help but shake my head at why it was so poorly thought out.
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post #14 of 358 Old 09-30-2007, 03:54 PM
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One of the newer McDonalds around here has a 40+" flat-panel that shows Fox News *every* time I've been there. Needless to say, that clearly ain't HD.

My kid's pediatrician office has a flat-panel that's always playing a CNN loop of some sort, like CNN Health. Dr Gupta is on there a lot.... I suspect that's a DVD or something though.

The bowling alley where my wife bowls has had a 46" Toshiba RP HDTV for many, many years and although people often put it on a non-HD channel, they *do* have an HD set-top from the cableco on it.

And the last one, a hospice was recently built (still under construction, I guess) next to the hospital my wife works at. One of the doctors told her that someone went in there and stole ALL of the flat-panels.
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post #15 of 358 Old 09-30-2007, 04:13 PM
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The Hyatt Place Hotel near the Atlanta Airport has a big HD flat screen in every room. They even had a panel on the wall that allowed you to hook up external equipment to it. They had HD locals as well as HDNet and Discovery.

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post #16 of 358 Old 09-30-2007, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by habscolts View Post

Why does that happen?

Digital networks can appear to be delayed relative to analogue networks because the compression required for digital broadcasting requires a number of frames to be stored in memory and analysed to detect motion to allow for the compression. This storage and buffering adds a delay to the broadcast, the more compression/decompression the digital signal goes through relative to the one feeding the analogue transmitters, the greater the delay.

Analogue broadcasts are effectively instantaneous - hence digital and analogue simulcasts often have the analogue broadcast "earlier" than the digital one. (It was for this reason that the BBC stopped broadcasting an in-vision clock before their main network news bulletins)

It IS possible for the delay to be the other way round - but not common.
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post #17 of 358 Old 09-30-2007, 04:49 PM
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At this point hotels are slowly replacing their old NTSC sets with widescreen sets. Unfortunately these things are often in furniture that isn't big enough for a decent sized widescreen so there's yet another added expense to upgrade.

Most of the hotels that have upgraded to widescreens have absolutely no HDTV programming and are just stretching their blurry SD to make it completely unwatchable. This even includes upscale hotels that have just been built so this HD fad wasn't even in their plans when they built the place.

I've been in a couple hotels that actually did have HDTV. In one suite there was even a plasma in the bedroom and an LCD in the living room, both with true HD.

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post #18 of 358 Old 09-30-2007, 06:03 PM
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I stay in the Marriott Executive Park in Charlotte, NC frequently, and in the past few months they put ~30" LG LCDs in the rooms. The locals are all in HD (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and PBS) in the channel 3-10 range and they have ESPN, ESPN2, HD Theater, TNT Universal HD, HDNet Movies and HBO in HD in the channel 40-50 range. However, they still have SD ESPN, ESPN2, HBO, etc down in the teens, so you have to actually have to look around to find the HD versions. But it is a very good lineup
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post #19 of 358 Old 09-30-2007, 06:05 PM
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Remember, bring a Universal Remote and a code sheet with you when you travel (or a Pronto and an internet connection if you are really high-tech). Make sure you get that TV out of stretch-o-vision...

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post #20 of 358 Old 09-30-2007, 07:16 PM
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Most every Four Seasons and Penninsula hotels have HD now, usually the locals plus the main hd nets, like espn, tnt, hbo,etc. I have also noticed that many bars in chicago, especially those around wrigley have HD.
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post #21 of 358 Old 09-30-2007, 09:14 PM
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CJ's Crab House in Owings Mills, MD was showing March Madness in HD.

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post #22 of 358 Old 09-30-2007, 10:38 PM
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Though I've stayed in many hotels with some sort of HD display in the rooms, only the Intercontinental in Milwaukee and Embassy Suites in Concorde Mills (Charlotte area) have actually had HD programming.

As far as bars and restaurants, the Greenville area has many who actually show HD that I can think of: Dixies, Sharkey's, Wild Wing, Sporty's and probably others.

-c
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post #23 of 358 Old 10-01-2007, 03:53 AM
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Can't comment on hotel, but the variability of HD in restaurants here in Jacksonville is fascinating. Most of the time, it is stretched SD. Of course, I don't necessarily blame them for the practice...they probably bought the sets from Wal-Mart (I see a lot of Vizios) where the distribution system is feeding all the sets on display a very bad SD signal.

However, I've been pleasantly surprised recently in some restaurants by seeing sets actually using an HD feed. Hope the trend will continue as the restaurant owners get their own HD sets at home, subscribe to actual HD sources, and see the difference.
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post #24 of 358 Old 10-01-2007, 05:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petergaryr View Post

...they probably bought the sets from Wal-Mart (I see a lot of Vizios) where the distribution system is feeding all the sets on display a very bad SD signal.

The Wal-Marts and Sam's Clubs around here have what looks like an HD feed to me. You can distinctly see a difference in the picture between different sets. Some are stretched SD, as you say, but others are definitely HD.
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post #25 of 358 Old 10-01-2007, 05:28 AM
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Just got back from vacation. Condo for 5 nights advertised only as having "42" flat screen", which it did, a budget LG LCD mounted over the fireplace (so about 4 feet over my head from a 9' distance). Picture was washed out, horrible cable feed (don't know which company), with picture stretched on every station and the menu locked out. Even my wife had a hard time watching it. Last night stayed at a brand new Westin in Lombard, IL (suburb of Chicago) which had a 32" LG plasma with DirecTV feed and no locked out menu, so could set the pic to 4:3 if SD (I personally hate stretched pictures). Overall the picture looked good, at least closer to 6500 out of the box. It was nice to get home to my 52" DLP, though.

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post #26 of 358 Old 10-01-2007, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hall View Post

The Wal-Marts and Sam's Clubs around here have what looks like an HD feed to me. You can distinctly see a difference in the picture between different sets. Some are stretched SD, as you say, but others are definitely HD.

Maybe the folks from Jacksonville should pay a visit to Ohio to learn how to do it!

Honestly, I don't know how our local WM ever sells any sets.
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post #27 of 358 Old 10-01-2007, 10:06 AM
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stayed at Loews Coronado Bay resort in san diego, and the high-end La Costa Resort and Spa, and had to deal with brand new flat screens with stretched standard def and no way to adjust the aspect ratio. It was frustrating as hell. Loews had no HD available to begin with. I "think" La costa might have, but I was out and about so much I didn't watch much tv.
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post #28 of 358 Old 10-01-2007, 10:18 AM
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I haven't stayed at a hotel nice enough to have flat panel TV's or HDTV's... yet.

Sports bars and restaurants are the worst, almost everywhere I've been shows analog crappy SD on LCD or plasma sets. Although there is one local sports bar/irish pub chain that the location near me has plasmas everywhere, and each set has some kind of IR extender that must go to the D* receiver for each set, because they have Sunday Ticket, and the TV's are ALWAYS on ESPNHD or ESPN2HD. Each TV can be individually controlled and is labeled with a number. Never seen analog on any TV there. I think they must have Comcast as well, perhaps to a lesser extent, because I have seen Comcast Sportsnet Philly on them, which is the only CSN NOT distributed on D* or E*.

Anyone been to Hooters recently? They have billboards, and a big advertising campaign that you can go watch the game there, in HD.
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post #29 of 358 Old 10-01-2007, 10:20 AM
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Talked to the owner of a new restaurant with about 6 or 7 HDTVs who was told by their A/V expert that HD was virtually mandatory in any new establishment. The owner agreed to the additional expense, but was never given the option of paying the $50-$100 extra per TV to get a QAM tuner and just ran coax to each location. Now the option is to stretch or put a STB on each of the nice flush mounted screens.

Guess what they're doing?

BTW - the "expert" said the stretched SD "is HD".
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post #30 of 358 Old 10-01-2007, 10:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthonyB View Post

Everywhere else, I've seen all the HDTV's stretched because they don't want to deal with the SD simulcast being 3 seconds faster with the rest of their TV's

Two easy solutions to this.

1. Turn down the sound on all TVs. Sure, the cheering will be delayed, but at least you can pay attention to your screen.

2. Replace the older TVs with new HDTVs. Then all of them will get the HD feed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Satori84 View Post

Example: this spring my wife and I were at the ResortQuest Waikiki Beach, and I was elated to see a brand new Panasonic plasma on the bureau. After 5 minutes scanning the available channels, I was disgusted. They get a feed from a very good local CATV provider (TWC Oceanic, I think) but trap out all the HD signals and upper analog channels to make room for their in-house on-demand channels.

Wait a minute. You're on vacation in Hawaii and you're worried about the HDTV feed? I realize that we all love TV and the tech stuff, but you're in paradise.

What did the wife think of your HDTV fetish?
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