Although lots of the bigger hotel chains are lessening the restrictions they put on their room TVs, some smaller ones are still taking measures to prevent you from plugging in computers or streaming devices into an HDMI port. However, there are a few steps you can take to bypass these restrictions and watch your own media in a hotel that has restricted TVs.
First, Disconnect the TV Controller Box
If the TV in your room has a little box with some cables attached to it, attached either behind the TV or somewhere on the wall, there's a simple, non-invasive trick to disabling it.
You'll most likely see two coaxial cables attached to the box, as well as an RJ-11 cord, which resembles a telephone cable. All you have to do is follow the RJ-11 cord to the multiple protocol port it's connected to on the TV and disconnect it. Simple as that.
Afterwards, you should be able to change the input on the TV to your desired HDMI input. If your hotel remote doesn't have a "Source" or "Input" button, look for buttons on the side of the TV—there should be one there.
Now, if you've got a computer with an HDMI-out, you can plug it directly into the TV. Or, you can connect a streaming device like an Apple TV, Fire TV, Roku, or Chromecast 2 (1st generation Chromecast's can't connect to public sign-in Wi-Fi networks).
Just make sure to connect the RJ-11 cable again before you leave, so that whoever stays in there next isn't inconvenienced by having to call down to the front desk to ask what's wrong with their TV.
What if There Are No Input Buttons?
If neither the TV nor the remote in your room have an Input or Source button, you'll have to get a little creative. Many TVs used in hotels are "hospitality models," that limit features to make it "easier" for the user, when really they most likely want to limit your options so that you shell out the cash for a movie.
What you're going to want to do is look on the back of the TV in your room for the model number, then Google it along with "owner's manual."
Once you find the correct owner's manual online, skim through it to find out how to access your TV's advanced menus and programming options. There should be a way for you to change input sources in there. If there isn't, see if there's a way to turn on the "auto detect" source feature, which should automatically switch to HDMI once you plug a device in.
Another option would be you use your Android phone's IR blaster, if it's equipped with one. Some common capable devices include recent Samsung Galaxy models, HTC One devices, and a few LG phones. A full list is available here, courtesy of Phone Arena.
Once again, if you try this in a hotel room, be extra careful not to damage anything. Not only might the hotel try to charge you extra, it's a dick move to screw the room up for whoever's staying there next. However, neither of these solutions should result in any damage unless you're reckless, so just be careful and you'll be fine.
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