Edmonds-based Window Channel turns TV into relaxing escape

Imagine if you could switch on your television and watch nothing but relaxing scenic views, accompanied by naturally occurring sound like waves and wildlife. Thanks to the Edmonds-based The Window Channel, you can do just that – in area hotels, hospitals or even in the comfort of your own home via Comcast On Demand.

The Window Channel is designed “to create an ambient escape from noise and clutter of everyday life,” said CEO Jim Wilmer, a Woodway resident. Wilmer also founded Wilmer Communications, which provides specialized marketing and advertising services to hotels and resorts.

Featuring high-definition video environments with Dolby 5.1 surround sound, each thematic loop on The Window Channel offers 30-60 minutes with a variety of topics and tempos. Every window runs four to five minutes, then moves on to the next. The viewer has the sensation of “looking out a metaphoric window,” Wilmer said. “The camera doesn’t move – it’s just like sitting on the beach.”

You can select the view depending on your taste and mood, from jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium to geysers at Yellowstone National Park to the Yangtze River in China.

Wilmer said the “creative brains” behind the venture is Mark Knight, a 15-year veteran of the hospitality and residential photography industry who had an idea several years ago for bringing his photography to a more interactive level for the viewer.

“About two years ago, I started bringing a Hi-Def video camera on location with me and I got hooked immediately,” Knight said. “The format has a completely immersive feel to it… like a vicarious travel experience. It’s really sublime… and fascinating to watch. I realized early on what a powerful, yet non-traditional marketing and selling tool it could be.”

With very little marketing, The Window Channel is now playing in two dozen U.S. hospitals plus many high-end hotels including Seattle’s Hotel 1000 and Courtyard by Marriott, the Woodmark Hotel in Kirkland, and Willows Lodge in Woodinville.

The Window Channel’s therapeutic effect on hospital patients has been documented by Stanford University, which just concluded a six-month study on patients at Stanford Medical Center. “They are just thrilled; they love it,” Wilmer said.

Last summer, The Window Channel launched on Comcast On Demand through the free Get Local folder, “and the response was pretty amazing,” Wilmer said. “We now have five different programs that rotate on a two-week basis, and we’re averaging 20,000 to 30,000 viewers monthly.”

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