How to Hack A Hotel TV

There's something about the thought of coming home after a long day, having a nice dinner, then retiring to your living room to mini-binge on Netflix. Sure, it's easy when you have your Apple TV or Chromecast set up in the comfort of your living room, but what do you do when you're on vacation? You've just spent four long hours in the car, driving in heavy traffic, and all you want to do is stretch out on that hotel bed and binge on your favorite show or movie. It's such a shame that you can't put any of those inputs on the back of the TV to good use.

Or can you?

It turns out that black box on the back of your TV can in fact be beaten. Chances are if you take a look at the back of your room's TV, you'll see a box that looks something like this:

Off the bottom of the box comes three cables: two coaxial connections and one RJ-11 connection. One of the coaxial connections comes from the wall outlet to the box, the other runs from the box to the TV, similar to how old-school cable box connections use to do before the advent of HDMI. The RJ-11 cable runs from the box to the multiple protocol (MP) port on the TV. This is the connection on which you'll want to focus your attention. It controls the television's ability to enable or disable support for the inputs, effectively lobotomizing it. Fortunately, there's a simple, non-invasive procedure to restore it's intelligence.

All you need to do is simply disconnect the cable.

Once completed, you'll be able to hit the source/input button on the side of the television and you should see the input menu similar to this:

All that's left to do is connect your favorite streaming device - Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, etc. - and set it up on the hotel's wireless Internet connection. Controlling your device should be done with the remote it comes with for Apple TV and Roku-like devices.

As a side note, if you want a quality watching experience, it may be worthwhile to spring for the additional bandwidth the hotel offers in their premium Internet plan. If you'll be staying for more than a night, it's something to consider if you want as close to a buffer-free experience as possible.

Just remember to reconnect the cable and switch the input back to the normal picture so the guest using the room after you doesn't have to call down to the front desk to complain that their TV doesn't work.

Happy watching!