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The Enterprise D had a holodeck for training, entertainment, and plot contrivance, but on DS9, the holo-projecting room was referred to as a 'holosuite'.

What is the technical difference between a holodeck and a holosuite?

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The difference is nine letters. –  Xantec Apr 15 at 20:04
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I suspect (thus no answer but a comment) that the first is on a ship, hence a deck and the second is a room in Quark's establishment, hence a suite. –  bitmask Apr 15 at 20:13
    
I think @bitmask nailed it on the head, however in nautical terms a "deck" would imply the entire level, a more correct term on a ship would be a holo compartment –  Monty129 Apr 15 at 20:25
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Marketing! Call it a “holosuite” and you can charge double. –  Paul D. Waite Apr 15 at 21:26
    
@Monty129 Or maybe "Holo Bay", like Sick Bay? –  Izkata Apr 15 at 23:25
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2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Essentially, there's no difference in terms of the technology. The implication is that a holosuite is smaller and can accomodate one or two people (in a small simulation) whereas a holodeck is a larger space that can accomodate dozens of people.

Additionally, a holodeck is a dedicated space with built-in equipment whereas a holosuite (at least the DS9 versions) are described as modular suggesting that almost any room can be made into a holosuite.

It also makes linguistic sense that a holodeck would be situated on a ship's deck, whereas a holosuite could be any room designated for the purpose. The Enterprise-D apparently contained multiple holodecks as well as various individual holographic environments analagous to a single-person "suite".

In an interview for "The Deep Space Log Book: A Second Season Companion" Herman Zimmerman uses the terms interchangeably;

"Holosuites are like the holodeck of Next Generation and we can program pretty much any kind of experience for any kind of location we want to. But what we are doing on Deep Space Nine that we weren't able to do on Next Generation is we see the inside of the holodeck and we see the machinery that runs it. When we did Next Generation we were in a budget constraint that made us do a set that is a wireframe look; it's a grid of squares when the holodeck is not activated and they just see a black void with yellow grids. In the Cardassian holodeck when the lights go off, so to speak, you see the machinery that creates the imagery. It's a step forward for us and it's something we've always wanted to do on Next Generation and we were never able to achieve".

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a holosuite is smaller and can accomodate one or two people (in a small simulation) - The one exception I can immediately think of is when Molly O'Brien has her time travel trip and Miles and Keiko take her to the holosuite and visit the wide open fields of the planet she grew up on. –  Xantec Apr 15 at 20:52
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And then there are the times when the entire command crew visits the holosuite, i.e. Vic's bar. Or, when Sisko challenges the Vulcans to a baseball game. Then they have two full teams in one simulation. –  Xantec Apr 15 at 20:54
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@Xantec - Yup. The technology is wildly inconsistent. The Memory Alpha page posits that the holosuites could somehow be networked together with smaller groups in multiple suites –  Richard Apr 15 at 20:58
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I think if anyone was doing rigging to Quark's holosuites it would be Rom. When Sisko et al got stuck in Bashir's simulation Eddington was astonished at how convoluted their hardware was. –  Xantec Apr 15 at 21:06
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Even on a TNG holodeck, I think you have to assume that when the characters move apart further than the size of the deck, then when they see each other from a distance they are each looking at a holographic image of the other person that replicates all the behavior of whatever the real person is doing. So, even if a holosuite can only accomodate a single person I don't see that there should be a problem with groups of people interacting within the same simulated world. –  Hypnosifl Apr 15 at 21:46
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Holosuites are much smaller than Holodecks. But, in typical Ferengi fashion, it's all about the profit. Several smaller Holosuites can realize more profit than one large Holodeck. Think about the analogy of buying bulk items at the store. Buying one large item in x volume container is more expensive 'out of pocket' but with a lower per-unit cost than two smaller items that total the same amount of product. The smaller item is less expensive 'out of pocket' but the mark-up is higher per unit, thereby maximizing profit. Marketing 101.

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