Guests at the Boston Park Plaza hotel don’t have to rely on overpriced in-room entertainment anymore: Instead, they can just connect their phone to the hotel’s Wi-Fi network, browse Netflix’s or Hulu’s mobile app, and then launch their favorite shows right on the hotel room TV.
That’s because the hotel recently installed a new in-room hospitality solution that’s based on Google’s Chromecast streaming adapter, allowing visitors to launch video streams from any Google Cast-enabled app on their mobile devices. The solution is being managed by Sonifi, a hospitality technology provider that’s currently managing in-room TV and Wi-Fi in 1.2 million hotel rooms worldwide.
Sonifi officially launched its Sonicast solution Tuesday. Sonicast is using Google’s Chromecast streaming adapter, but extends it with hotel-room-specific tweaks. For example, each Chromecast is isolated from other guest rooms, making it impossible for other guests to send any content to TVs that aren’t in their room.
Sonifi pitches the solution to hotel chains as a way to give consumers access to the online video services they already use every day, while also saving money on maintaining the technology — a streaming stick like Chromecast consumes significantly less energy than a full-blown set-top box, something that can make a difference for a hotel with hundreds of rooms.
But in a way, adding Chromecast to hotel room TVs is also a tacit admission that in-room VOD is increasingly a losing proposition: Consumers don’t want to pay $20 or $30 for a movie they can watch once when they have Netflix and other services available on their mobile devices.
Consumer electronics manufacturers have already caught onto this trend, with both Roku and Amazon offering users of their respective streaming sticks ways to make their devices work with hotel Wi-Fi. By providing a Chromecast-based solution, hotels can make sure that they’re not cut out of the value chain altogether, and offer their own apps and services alongside Netflix and Co.