Cheap hotel tv system.
February 22, 2006 12:28 PM   Subscribe

Inexpensive / open source video distribution system (like in a hotel)?

My parents are considering buying a big old house and turning it into a hotel / bed and breakfast type thing. They want to have TV in each room and and be able to have a video system like at a REAL hotel. I don't think they want to do check in / check out.. just have a ton of TV channels in each room .. and maybe have their own 'info' channel.

They asked me and I have no idea where to start.

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posted by cowmix to Technology (7 answers total)
MythTV? It's Linux though. And I don't think there's charging built in.
posted by ODiV at 1:00 PM on February 22, 2006

My experience with those things is they suck. In an attempt to make the TV set a profit center for the hotel, it gets rid of many of the channel choices and the remotes suck. And when you turn on the TV it sets it to the movie preview channel and cranks the volume way up. I love hotels that have just a TV like you experience at home.

You'll have to pay commercial rates for the in-room TV channels and most cable companies have setups for such a purpose [including having a few "house channels" in the lineup]. Nothing fancy like PPV movies or In-room check out.

If you want to annoy guests like me get a bid from LodgeNet on their proprietary solution -- the revenue sharing on the PPV movies might be worth it.
posted by birdherder at 1:00 PM on February 22, 2006

Would you combine interweb and tv access? (Eg, a computer in each room).

Then you could do it as streaming video around the network (vlc / gstreamer, etc).

Then you've got to have a bunch of provider channels somehow converted to streams. I've done it with single channels before, but I've no idea how to make it scale to (possibly) hundreds.
posted by holloway at 1:10 PM on February 22, 2006

I'm surprised that a B&B would have televisions...
posted by elisabeth r at 1:39 PM on February 22, 2006

Visiting a B&B I would be disappointed to see a hotel-style TV where I have to look at advertising whenever I turn it on. If I wanted a hotel, I'd have booked one!

That said, if the rooms are going to have TVs at all (which is bizarre to me too, but ok), I'd just talk to my local cable company or satellite TV provider, the same way I would if I wanted to have a TV in the family room, kitchen, and all of the bedrooms of my house.

It's not like you're going to be able to avoid the local cable company or a satellite TV provider anyhow, because you have to get those channels somehow.
posted by mendel at 2:12 PM on February 22, 2006

what I would do:
Set up a server to host movie files

Set up a mod'ed xbox in each room (I tranferred my xbox into a small IBM NetVista case, it looks really nice), install XBox Media Center

XBMC is so easy, my mom uses it and loves it.... all navigation is done with the remote, and you can download IMDB information for all the movies (including cover art, synopsis, actors) with a few buttons...

So, go buy some of the Critereon Classics, some good Chick Flicks, a comedy or two, and keep up on new releases... rip them to a main server computer, and you are golden!

Also, if you're really hot on this whole TV thing, you can set up video in, combined with VLC and stream the live video to the XBox also. Make a custom skin to go with everything, and you're golden...

It's all legal as long as the video is only being watched by one person at a time, you can always have a low-tech way of cataloging who watches what... have a notebook at the front and if any officials come in, tell them that you require customers to notify you if they are watching any movies (honestly, wouldn't ever happen, but at least you're covered)

this is probably the only way you'd be able to get VOD for less than $400/room.. $200->250 for modded xbox (with nice case), + $1-2000 for a fileserver...
posted by hatsix at 12:32 AM on February 23, 2006

^^ What he said
posted by holloway at 6:53 PM on February 23, 2006

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