What is Pro:Idiom? What is BLAN? Why do I need it in my Hotel?

What is Pro:Idiom? What is BLAN? Why do I need it in my Hotel?

Why Commercial grade units?

There are certain features of a commercial grade TV which makes them a smart choice for hotels:

  • Most consumer grade TV warranties will be null and void when used in a commercial setting
  • 2 year onsite warranty (onsite service as opposed to boxing up and returning to a retailer)
  • Anti-theft metal screw-down security base (TVs can be mounted to furniture)
  • Maximum volume and auto power-down setting (curtail potential noise complaints, and reduce energy consumption when guests leave TV on accidentally)
  • Remote with screw-down battery cover (deters theft of batteries from remote control)
  • Lock-out inputs – prevents unauthorized use of TV (guests bring movies on their laptops and connect to the TV to watch, bypassing the motivation to subscribe to pay per view).

What is Pro:idiom?

Pro:Idiom is a digital content protection system tailored for the hospitability industry. It allows a central decoder in a hotel to decrypt video i.e. copyrighted TV/Movie content from a head-end or satellite feed and re-encode it for secure delivery to TV sets in each guestroom.  All Pro:idiom means is that there is a chip and supporting circuitry present in the TV that permits decryption of copyrighted content to be broadcast on a screen in a commercial setting.

A good way to explain is using iTunes as an example.  iTunes is a digital rights management system similar to Pro:idiom.  The same way copyrighted music cannot be copied onto an iPod to listen to without iTunes, copyrighted video cannot be broadcast on a TV in a hotel without Pro:idiom.

Often you will hear words such as ‘smart-card’, ‘pay-per-view’ capability, ‘VOD’, ‘LodgeNet’ compatible when discussing hospitality grade TV’s all of which refer to Pro:idiom.

What is bLAN?

Before the introduction of flat screen TVs, hotels using LodgeNet services were required to have a ‘box’ strapped to the back of the TV or nearby furniture enabling the decryption of video content and act as a gateway to restrict unauthorized access to pay per view movies.  The ‘set-back box’ is about the size of a pack of playing cards and typically has three cables coming from it:  power cable, coaxial TV cable, and bLAN (looks like the hardwire internet plug on your laptop.)

Basically bLAN is just an abbreviated name for LodgeNet’s set-back box.  When you see bLAN on a flatscreen TV description, it implies that LodgeNet’s set-back box is built into the TV’s housing.  Only customers subscribing to LodgeNet’s services or similar services i.e. ‘On Command’ (was acquired by LodgeNet) require bLAN TVs.  bLAN TVs are equipped with the Pro:idiom chipset.  bLAN and Pro:idiom goes hand in hand.