Marriott International announced a few days ago that its hotels now have the option of installing flat-panel HD sets in guest rooms and lounges. Other chains are expected to follow suit, since the lodging industry is among the most competitive in the world (HD Notebook, May 11, 2005). Marriott, based in Washington, D.C., expects to roll out 50,000 HD sets manufactured by LG Electronics over the next four years--primarily at its full-service lodges under the brand names JW Marriott, Marriott and Renaissance.
Among the first of its hotels to offer in-room HD will be the Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center, and the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront near Inner Harbor. And Marriott plans to take the HD experience one step further with the addition of a desk-level connectivity panel to enable guests to connect their own laptops, PDAs, DVD players, MP3 players, personal camcorders or videogamers to the HD sets. (Marriott promises to make the connectivity interface simple, where hotel guests will just plug their devices into a power strip-like device and the system will finish the set-up automatically.)
Marriott's in-room media configurations (which it says will be unique), will allow dual functions simultaneously using split-screen technology. HD sets will swivel up to 178 degrees for viewing anywhere in the newly configured rooms, and will work in conjunction with pivotal desks that also are being installed at new and refurbished properties. The HD sets will be 32-inch LCDs with 30-watt speaker systems. (No word yet on 5.1 surround sound systems.)
In its publicity materials, Marriott is citing a March 2005 CEA survey which concludes that nearly half of all American consumers "plan to" make their next television purchase an HD set.
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