I guess I was a day or two prescient with my comment that Wayport and iBahn had stalled on the scale of their hotel networks: On Monday, I wrote about Wayport, after they announced a Yahoo portal deal on advertising and content, and noted that they and other firms that were founded to bring Internet service (often first wireline then Wi-Fi later) into hotels had reached something close to saturation on the number of properties they could provide service to. The only way to increase revenue is to have more usage or to add more services. And, lo, Wayport and iBahn have now separately announced their entrance into the hotel video, gaming, and billing markets.
Wayport announced Entertainment-on-Demand on Tuesday, which brings video on demand (VOD), including some high-definition content, to hoteliers' TVs alongside Internet access and other features. The VOD would be IPTV based, meaning that video is streaming over the IP network, and offer digital video recorder (DVR) features like play, rewind, pause,a nd bookmarking, as well as a program guide. In other words, something like HD TiVo for your hotel room.
iBahn, meanwhile, revealed yesterday that they are acquiring ETV Interactive, a hospitality firm with operations in the UK, Latin America, Australia, and India, that offers in-room entertainment and telecom. They'll use this firm's operation to launch a US service.
iBahn and Wayport will be competing with established in-room entertainment and integration firms, like LodgeNet, which I believe is the giant in this field. LodgeNet provides broadband, so they're already in competition with these other firms. iBahn and Wayport, of course, have their Internet infrastructure in the hotels they already serve, so it may be an easier transition for them to bundle the business and win it, too.