Already have Netflix at home? Then keep up with your favourite shows on the road by using this handy yet simple hack, which allows you to watch Netflix on almost any hotel TV.
It works like this: with the right HDMI cable, you can attach your laptop or tablet to the hotel television, and can then use the TV just like an extra computer monitor – so when you fire up Netflix on your own device, you’ll see it on the hotel TV, too.
You might already have a suitable cable in your carry-on kit, such as you’d use when giving a presentation: but if not, a standard HDMI-to-HDMI cord will do the trick if your device has a standard HDMI outlet, or a DisplayPort-, Mini DisplayPort- or Lightning-to-HDMI cable could be your solution.
Some hotels make the next step easy. For instance, Shangri-La Sydney provides an easy-to-locate HDMI port on a panel next to the in-room TV...
… and armed with a Microsoft Surface tablet (which requires a Mini DisplayPort-to-HDMI cable), we simply plugged in, and took advantage of an adjacent USB power outlet to keep the battery recharged…
… and voila, Netflix on the hotel TV.
It’s not always this easy: sometimes you’ll need to peer behind or next to the TV for a spare HDMI outlet, and then use the TV controls to bring this up (look for a key labelled ‘input’, ‘HDMI’ or ‘AV’): provided your hotel hasn’t blocked this, which will keep you watching on your smaller screen only.
Naturally, Netflix also requires access to the Internet. Shangri-La WiFi’s was fast enough for us to run Netflix HD without incident, but you could always download the next episodes of your favourite show or a few good movies for ‘offline playback’ before leaving home just to be sure.
The only hard part? Having to get up and wander over to the TV every time you want to select a show, pause your viewing, fast forward or rewind… but if you also travel with a wireless mouse, this can serve as an easy remote control.
Once you’ve found something of interest, just switch the mouse off so that Netflix’s on-screen controls will disappear, and kick back with your movie of choice!
Chris Chamberlin stayed as a guest of the Shangri-La Sydney hotel.