What is the perfect TV size for a hotel room?

I stayed at a hotel a couple of weeks ago that had just completed a major refurbishment of their rooms including replacing all the TV’s.  The first thing I noticed and I will admit that as I am in the industry I am probably more likely to notice, but the TV was only 26”.  At first I thought it was a computer monitor. But on closer inspection it was indeed an LCD TV, in fact a Samsung 26” LA26R71BD.

I started thinking, what is the perfect size for a hotel room TV.  I Googled the question and came up with a couple of different suggested formulas for calculating the minimum and maximum size for a TV in a room.

To determine the minimum size of the TV you calculate the distance from the TV to where you plan to view it in inches.  In the case of this hotel, from the TV to bed head was 12ft or 144 inches.  Amazon suggest that you then divide this by 3 to arrive at the smallest TV size you should put into that room in inches, so that would be a 48” TV or the nearest size being a 46”TV.

Samsung on the other hand suggest that the distance should be divided by 4, in which case a 36” TV would be best. Using this rule of thumb a 32” or 37” TV would have been a better option.  However I think guest perception is also very important.  Many guests these days have very large LCD TVs at home, so a hotel won’t necessarily be able to deliver something of the same size, but as long as the guest feels the size is appropriate to the room then that’s all that matters.  Talking about guest perception, this reminds me of an article I read in Hospitality Upgrade (Spring 2010) http://hospitalityupgrade.imirus.com/Mpowered/imirus.jsp?volume=hu10&issue=1&page=18 where Nick Price, Mandarin Oriental’s CIO/CTO said that they provide “internationally recognizsed brand-name TV displays so the guest has the assurance of quality even before the set is turned on.”

The other thing I noticed about the TV, was that it wasn’t a Hospitality TV.  Generally a property of this star rating (4.5 stars and size (200 rooms) would have a Hospitality TV as they have Video On Demand systems.  So what is a Hospitality TV?

A Hospitality TV or Hotel TV has additional ports so as to interface with the VOD provider as well as additional software on the TV that offers a special set of features for the hospitality industry.

These features generally include:

  • The ability to define a start-up channel and also a pre-set start-up volume
  • The maximum volume can be set to avoid noise complaints
  • The TV can be “locked” so that guests can not alter its configuration. This includes locking the side buttons for menu access, volume and channel control.  Menus can be locked (i.e. colour adjustment etc), channels can be locked out and inputs such as HDMI, VGA etc can be locked so guests cannot connect their own devices. This is generally done to prevent guests from making copies of pay for view movies
  • The TV has interfacing capabilities so that it can work in conjunction with the VOD providers Set Top Box
  • Once one TV is setup you can “clone” the configuration to setup the other TV’s

A Hospitality TV normally has a commercial on-site warranty, generally 3 years and will generally cost 10% to 15% more than a non hospitality model.  Companies such as Philips, LG, Samsung, Sharp and Sony make a Hospitality model.So what is the perfect sized TV for a hotel room?

I think that the Samsung rule of thumb provides a very good guideline but you must also keep in mind the guest’s perception.  As long as the guest feels the size and quality of the TV is appropriate to the hotel then that’s the most important thing.  Funnily enough, I stayed at a hotel just around the corner from this one I am writing about only a few weeks later.  It was also a 4.5 star hotel with 194 rooms.  They had 32” Philips Hospitality TV’s wall mounted and I didn’t even question the size of the TV.  It just felt right.