Apple TV (Or Whatever) In a Hotel

So you’re trying to plug something—Apple TV, Playstation, XBox, even a computer—into the HDMI jack on the television in your hotel room, and you’ve found the TV’s “input select” or “source” button isn’t working. You googled and ended up here. I can help!

If your hotel TV’s “input select” or “source” button isn’t working, or indeed any of the buttons on the front panel of the TV, look on the back of the TV. Hotels get special TVs to support the internal stuff you don’t care about, like pay-per-view movies and the whole menu system. On the back of the set you’ll find a telephone jack with a wire plugged into it. It’s probably labeled “Data”. Unplug it. Presto, the front-panel buttons now work, and you can select the HDMI input.


On many (but not all) hotel TVs, this will also disable the remote control, so you’ll have to use the front-panel buttons to adjust the volume.

Just remember to plug it back in before you check out.

Using the Hotel WiFi


Your other problem is getting your Apple TV (or whatever) onto the hotel’s internet service. Most hotels use a captive portal, forcing you to click “agree” or whatever even if the service is free. Without a browser, how will you get your Apple TV onto the network?

It’s always best if a hotel provides wired internet service, instead of or in addition to WiFi. I love it when I find a wired connection in my room: then I can plug in a router and make my own WiFi hotspot. Authenticate through the captive portal on my computer, and then my phone, my iPad, my Apple TV, can all use it. Simple.

Some hotels, though, hate customers and only provide wireless internet service, perhaps even with a limit to the number of devices that can connect. There are travel routers that will connect to a WiFi network and then share that connection on a new hotspot to all your devices. I have a D-Link DIR-510L. It works okay.

What I want to know is, who pays the fifty bucks for the two extra megabits?

Or, if you planned ahead and brought an ethernet cable, you can plug your Apple TV into your computer’s ethernet jack. Connect the computer to the hotel WiFi, and enable “connection sharing” to the wired connection, and your Apple TV is on the internet. The downside is that you have to keep it plugged into your computer while you’re using it, and keep your computer on.

On a Mac, you can find “connection sharing” in Preferences, under Sharing. Select the options to share your WiFi connection with devices on your Ethernet port, and turn it on. Windows can probably do it, too, but I wouldn’t know how, exactly.