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Hotels make room for Internet

Bandai and Holiday Inn are experimenting with Internet access from TV sets in hotel rooms.

Bandai Digital Entertainment announced today that it is teaming up with Holiday Inn in a test that will provide guests with Internet access from TV sets in hotel rooms.

According to the company, 100 Pippin @World units will be supplied for the test. Each unit is powered by a 603 Power PC RISC chip and includes a 4x CD-ROM drive and serial port, as well as composite video and VGA support. The units will be connected to the Internet through ISDN lines through an Apple AIX network server.

Providing guests with the latest in connectivity is rapidly becoming an amenity used by hotels to differentiate themselves on something more than price. More than 100,000 rooms in European hotels are expected to have Internet access provided by MAID Multimedia through TVs in guest rooms by the end of the year.

In the United States, several hotel chains, including Holiday Inn, have begun to offer Internet access at kiosks in their business centers or lobby areas. But Bandai may be the first to place their equipment directly into the hotel rooms, where guests are more likely to experiment with them, a move that may help create an inroad in to the larger consumer market.

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