Watching Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) from a hotel room can be an irritating experience. First, you often have to pay extra for WiFi; then, you might have to suffer through buffering delays and poor picture quality to watch on your laptop or tablet. There are, of course, workarounds, but most people won't carry their streaming device and cables on their travels -- and even if they do, it may not work with the TV in their room.
What is DISH doing?
Evolve, which debuted about a year ago, combines live television content, an interactive channel guide, and Alphabet's Chromecast with access to the Google Play store. The 4K-capable set-top box is "designed to work with any hotel wiring scenario, as well as existing or upgraded network infrastructures," DISH said in a press release.
Bringing Netflix to the platform adds significant value, as it dramatically increases viewing choices for consumers, and lets them have a little piece of home in their hotel rooms: Sign in, and your account comes up, with your preferences and saved shows, just like you were in your own living room. Hotel guests must have their own accounts with the streaming service, though for those who don't, the platform makes it simple to subscribe. And Evolve automatically wipes each customer's login information from the system at checkout time, preventing the next guest from getting a free ride.
A good deal for consumers
While you may not pick a hotel based on its in-room entertainment options, it's generally nice when you find out that the place you're staying offers a good selection. The DISH Evolve package gives consumers more options, and while the addition of Netflix may cost hotels some a bit of revenue as fewer guests opt for the higher-tier WiFi option, it should also produce higher levels of customer satisfaction.
This is a win for Netflix because it brings an optimal viewing experience to more subscribers in more places. It's a victory for DISH, too, because it makes Evolve a more attractive product for hotels considering it.
The big winners, however, are consumers who will be able to binge-watch away from home without paying extra, suffering through watching on a small screen, or having to deal with streaming via an overtaxed hotel WiFi system. It's a small convenience, but one that should be especially appreciated after a long day, when a tired traveler wants nothing more than to settle in and watch something from their queue.
Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Daniel B. Kline has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), and Netflix. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.