San Jose, Calif. -- A lodging-industry in-room
entertainment vendor has partnered with modem-vendor Com21 Inc. to test the possibility of
introducing digital video and high-speed data to the hotel industry.
On Command Corp. hopes to install a system in 25 hotels,
representing 15,000 rooms across the country, within the next several months. The system
has been in place in a "full-service business hotel" in the San Francisco Bay
area, according to the partners. This could put a competing technology right in the heart
of Tele-Communications Inc.'s large Northern California cluster.
The Bay-area test includes high-speed Internet-access ports
in rooms that guests can connect to their personal computers. Accessing the Com21
"ComUNITY Access" cable-modem system is done via On Command's in-room TV
menu screens. Com21 executives, in a prepared statement, said the hardware is compatible
with hotels of any size.
Further test sites will gauge the effects of different
programming, packages and price points. Current On Command customers, which may become
test sites, include the DoubleTree, Four Seasons, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Sheraton,
Westin and Wyndham hotel chains. On Command serves 100 hotel chains internationally.
On Command also plans a beta site in Hong Kong.