When you spend a night – or two – at the hotels, you will be pampered with all the facilities, including the big, flat screen TV. Have you ever wondered, “What does it take to stream my favorite shows to the TV at the hotel? Instead of watching the show on the tablets or laptops, I can really make use of the big screen.” Don’t worry; as long as the TV has HDMI ports on the back, everything is gonna is fine.
Using the WiFi Connection
Do you know that there are modern portable streaming sticks, which are quite small and handy enough to stream the programs? You can find such things like Google Chromecast, Roku Streaming Stick, or Fire TV Sticks, which are mostly portable and compact. If you want bigger devices, there are Roku, Apple TV, or Fire TV. The main perk about using this streaming stick is the easiness in usage. Whenever you are traveling, toss it into your bag, and off you go! You simply plug the stick into the HDMI port and enjoy the show.
The main problem is that you have to deal with captive portals – which are mostly used by hotels. The captive portals require a password, or if you are willing to pay extra, you can connect with their special term of service. Unfortunately, the streaming sticks haven’t been sophisticatedly designed for this purpose, so it would be a problem if you are using the regular WiFi network.
However, Amazon just developed their Fire TV devices that can handle captive portals. So far, this is the only product that can handle captive portals.
If you want to go with the easiest option, you can always go with the old school HDMI cable. You may have to pack the cable – which can be a fuss for some – but it is proven to be quite handy and guaranteed to be successfully connected to the TV. You only need to connect the HDMI cable to your laptop or any Mini DisplayPort, and then connect it to the hotels’ TV. Whatever you are playing on your laptop will be mirrored on the TV. You won’t need any internet connection for this method. In case there is an internet connection and you want to stream something on your laptop – like Netflix or YouTube – you can simply mirror it to the bigger TV screen.
If you use Miracast, you can have wireless streaming without any WiFi connection. This is like the best solution for wireless streaming since Miracast itself acts like wireless HDMI cable. Miracast is included within Windows Phone, Window 8.1, and Android devices, so it is compatible with any devices. However, not all hotel TVs have built in Miracast, which is too bad.
Basically, Miracast operates through WiFi Direct. If you want to stream any programs, you only need to make use of Miracast dongle, plug it right into the HDMI port, and stream whatever programs you like wirelessly. It doesn’t need any WiFi connectivity, so you can save yourself from trouble. If you want to, you can use Wireless Display Adapter, made by Microsoft, but it is costlier than Fire TV Stick. You won’t have to deal with any hacking method, but you definitely are going to spend extra. Roku Streaming Stick just developed Miracast support, so there is another alternative you can have. Just make sure that your devices support Miracast too.
Despite the benefits and perks of the streaming, keep in mind that Miracast has been complained about their reliability issues.
Using Smartphone Hotspot
Another option, naturally, is to use your smartphone hotspot – provided that you want to go with the typical way. Sure, you will have to prepare enough tethering data and unlimited data plan. Unless you are loaded, this isn’t the smartest or most logical solution since most data providers aren’t really generous when it comes to bandwidth and mobile data plan. After all, it may seem silly that you still use your internet connection when you have WiFi access from the hotel, but it is just too bad that Chromecast and such similar devices don’t support captive portals. It doesn’t hurt, though, to try connecting to the network. In case you are lucky, maybe the hotels don’t apply such captive portals and you are free to use it.
All in all, there are some options that you can make. If you often travel around and you don’t want to deal with the captive portals, you can always purchase Fire TV Stick. If you don’t mind tweaking around with your laptop and carry the HDMI cable, feel free to tag along the cable. If you don’t mind struggling with reliability issue, go with Miracast dongle. Just remember that each method has its own benefits and flaws, so consider each plan carefully.