News

Cox Expands Hotel HD-Video Service

12/02/2009 10:59 AM Eastern

As part of a push to expand business-services revenues, MSO
Cox Communications has rolled out a HD video service for hotels through its
entire footprint.

The service, which had been available in Las Vegas for several years, includes 24 encrypted high-definition
channels that are offered free to guests.

The Atlanta-based operators move comes as hotels are working
to expand their HD offerings to accommodate growing consumer demand.

"Anyone who is traveling for pleasure or business is looking
for the same experience they have at home," said Cox marketing manager for
business video services Jennifer Richardson. "As HD grows in the residential
market, the demand for HD is growing in the commercial marketplace for
hospitality."

The MSO believes it is
particularly well-positioned to capitalize on the trend, given the markets its
systems serve.

"Cox is lucky to have unique markets like Las
Vegas, New Orleans
and San Diego [with large business
and tourist markets] and that helped drive" their decision to expand their
offering of HD video to hotels, Richartson said.

Cox was staging trials of the services in several markets
and in September installed a free-to-guests HD service to 600 suites at the Hilton
Sandestin Beach Resort & Spa on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Richardson also notes
strong demand in other areas, including San Diego,
where Cox has already installed the service in some hotels, as well as Omaha,
Nebraska and New
Orleans.

Cox began offering services to hotels several years ago in Las
Vegas, where it was relatively easy to serve a large
cluster of hotels along the Strip. For the other markets, though, Cox decided
it need to developed equipment that can be installed in the hotel to deliver
feeds with the type of encryption used by the hotel industry.

"In most of our markets, we don't have the luxury of having
a large cluster of hotels like we do in Las Vegas,"
Richardson said. "There might be a
cluster of two or three hotels, but certainly not a mile or two of casino/hotels."

The in-premise equipment takes the regular Cox feeds and encrypts
them into the Pro:Idiom standard that has been adopted by the hotel industry.
These Pro:Idiom feeds are then delivered to special Pro:Idiom-enabled TV sets in
the guest rooms, which are able to display the encrypted feeds without a
set-top.

Besides the in-premise equipment, which is available in all
Cox markets, Richardson notes that they
are also using fiber feeds to hotels in some markets, such as Northern
Virginia and Oklahoma City.

Cox currently offers hotels a package of 24 HD channels and
is looking to expand that number, said Richardson.
The MSO can customize that lineup based on
the hotel's needs, she said.

"It really depends on the bandwidth they have," said Richardson.

September