We live in an incredible time of instant access to the world’s best TV and movies, easily streamed from slim and convenient devices to massive flatscreen TVs. So why would we want to give that up — and be forced to pay a hotel’s absurdly high fees for the same shows and movies — when we travel?
Well, you don’t have to. If you own a streamer like Amazon’s Fire TV Stick, or Fire TV Stick 4K, you’ve already got everything you need to take stream your favorite shows wherever you lay your head. It’s fun, it’s easy, and we’re going to show you how to do it. Let’s begin!
What you’ll need:
This first step is critical. The TV in your hotel room has to have an open HDMI port that you can access, otherwise it’s game over. First check the sides of the TV, or if you can access it, take a look around the back. They should be clearly labeled as HDMI 1, HDMI 2, etc. While you’re looking, take note to see if there’s already an HDMI cable plugged into the TV. If there is, you might need to unplug it in one of the next steps. Once a free port has been found, plug your Fire TV Stick in. If space is tight, use the HDMI extender cable that came with your Fire TV Stick.
The USB cable that came with your Fire TV stick is designed to siphon power from an available USB port on a TV, but since not all TVs have one of these, you should definitely bring along the USB wall adapter. If there’s no USB port on the TV, take a look around the desk or the console to which the TV is mounted — a growing number of hotels install USB ports for power near the TVs for just this sort of situation. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to look for a nearby power outlet. If there isn’t an open one within the reach of your USB cord’s length, that’s a tricky dilemma. You may have to unplug something or, if all else fails, an extra long micro USB cord could save you a lot of grief.
It’s now time to turn on the TV and see if you can switch the source to your Fire TV Stick’s HDMI input. The TV remote might have an input button or source button, but often the hotel will swap out the manufacturer’s remote with one of its own that may make input switching impossible. If so, check the TV itself — most models will have an input selector button next to the power and volume buttons. It could be located on the sides of the TV, or less commonly, along the bottom edge.
If you’re successful, the loading screen should appear with the Fire TV Stick logo. If you have trouble switching inputs (maybe because the TV simply won’t allow it), it’s time to try plan B: If you found a cable already plugged into an HDMI port in step 1, unplug it, and swap in your Fire TV Stick. Of course, this means that you’ll lose your hotel TV channels, but you can always swap it back once you’ve binged through Tom Clany’s Jack Ryan.
If you’ve gotten this far, this is (hopefully) the last step. If your hotel uses a standard Wi-Fi setup, you should be presented with a list of available Wi-Fi networks. Using the Fire TV remote, pick the one that matches the instructions given to you when you checked in (beware of copycats and lookalikes), and enter the provided password.
Some hotels use what’s known as a captive portal for Wi-Fi. The means that connecting to the Wi-Fi network is done in a two-step process. First, you connect to the appropriate network name, then after a few seconds, a browser window will open. You’ll see the hotel’s instructions to log in: This could be a pre-shared password, room number, or an option to accept the conditions for using the network. Use the remote to navigate between the fields — an on-screen keyboard will pop-up if you need to enter text.
Congrats, you’re ready to start streaming!