We’ve all been there. It’s late at night. You’re in a hotel room far from home with nothing to do. You turn on the TV and start scrolling through the 12 channels wondering if you’ve suddenly time-warped back to 1987. Surely there’s a way around this, right? Well, of course there is.
You could pretend you’re a high school kid and take out your phone to watch YouTube videos all night. You may go blind from trying to see any details on that tiny screen, though. You could try streaming something on your tablet or laptop, but good luck balancing that on your stomach comfortably while you watch old Seinfeld reruns on Crackle. In my mind, the ultimate solution would be using the big screen TV in your room and finding a way to expand those 12 channels into the infinite glory that is today’s media universe. But how to make that happen…
Based on the title of this post, you surely know the answer: bring your Apple TV on the road. I love my Apple TV. It gives me access to HBOGo, Netflix, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, and so much more. At under 10 oz., it’s extremely light and the dimensions are less than 4″x 4″, making it super portable, too. Amazon is currently offering the normally $100 product at a massive discount of $63.97 (as of the moment when I’m writing this), which means the already good deal is now a don’t-miss-it-or-you’ll-regret-it type deal.
After years of travel TV frustration, I finally decided to take my Apple TV to a hotel to test it out and I was so happy with the results. This past weekend, I spent a night at the gorgeous Ojai Valley Inn in remote Ojai, CA and, while there were a decent number of channels, I wanted the freedom to watch old episodes of The Wire. No on-demand options here, so I hooked up my Apple TV — it took about 12 seconds — and I was good to go.
It was seriously so easy. I plugged the power cord into an outlet, hooked up the HDMI cable into an input box (this hotel had one along with a DVD player), then I went into my Apple TV settings, chose the hotel’s open network and instantly connected. I imagine there may be some issues with certain hotel wi-fi systems, but in this case it was truly a plug-and-play operation. Within a minute, I was watching Jimmy McNulty butt heads with Stringer Bell. I honestly couldn’t believe I had waited so long.
A few things to keep in mind:
You’ll need to bring cords with you, too. I packed both my HDMI cable and my Apple TV power cord and you’ll need both to get up and running. To get an extra power cord, you may want to call Apple and see if they’ll send you one. They’ve been known to be quite generous if you’ve… *ahem* …lost yours.
You should be able to plug your HDMI cable directly into the TV if there’s no other option.
All hotel wi-fi is not created equally. It’s worth calling the front desk before your visit to see what kind of system they’re using to see if you’ll have issues. If the network is open to all guests, you should be in good shape. If you need to enter a room number and a name to use the network, it could be more problematic.
Keep track of your remote! It’s little. It’s the type of thing you can easily forget about or lose in the sheets. I know this because I lose mine all the time at home. Keep your eyes on that little silver stick or you’ll be very sad.
I have no idea if this works internationally. My gut says no. I think most streaming services (HBOGo, WatchESPN, etc.) have global location detectors and if you’re out of the US, you’ll probably be denied access. Just something to keep in mind.
This should also work with Roku, ChromeCast, Amazon FireStick, and any other media streamer you’ve got.
If you’re in the market for a streaming box, seriously consider the deal Amazon’s offering. It’s super cheap for how valuable a product it is. I seriously use mine daily.
Have you ever taken an Apple TV on the road with you? I’d love to hear about your experiences.