How To Use Your Chromecast In A Hotel Room

Google's Chromecast is one of the most useful streaming dongles ever invented -- but its functionality falls down as soon as your internet access is restricted or just not available at all. Getting a Chromecast working in a hotel room isn't easy, but it is possible. These are the tricks you can try.

Image: Gizmodo

As well as some internet access for your Chromecast, you're also going to need a big screen TV with a HDMI input, and a power socket for the Google-made device. If your hotel of choice is kind enough to provide both, you're on your way.

It's also impossible for us to cover every single hotel setup out there -- you may be able to work out some hack of your own to get everything up and running that we haven't mentioned -- but these are the main approaches to take. If you've got any tips to share, let us know in the comments.

Connecting to the hotel's internet

If the hotel you're staying in has fast, unrestricted internet that doesn't require extra credentials beyond a password login (and we've seen some that do), then you're on your way. You can set up your Chromecast as you would at home or at a friend's house.

As usual the Google Home app for Android or iOS is your way in. Through your phone you can tell the Chromecast the Wi-Fi network to connect to, and the password to get on to it, if required. The Chromecast connects directly to the web and can get streaming as normal.

Setting up a Wi-Fi hotspot

Many hotels ask for an extra level of authentication (a room number, a voucher code, an email address), and the current Chromecasts just aren't built to connect to a network with this kind of added complexity. The next-best solution is to set up a local wi-fi hotspot, although it's not exactly straightforward.

There are all kinds of options here, but you need another device with you. You can do it on the most recent version of Windows 10 using the built-in mobile hotspot feature, and you can do it natively on macOS too -- but only if you have an ethernet connection available in the hotel room.

Android and iOS are both capable of creating mobile hotspots as well without any third-party apps, so this is an option as long as you've got a strong cellular signal in your hotel room, a generous data plan, and you're not doing the actual casting from the phone itself. (You won't be able to run a hotspot from and cast from the same device).

Finally, there's also the option of a travel router -- but in most scenarios you're again hobbled by needing a wired Ethernet connection somewhere in your hotel room you can then convert to wi-fi, or a SIM card and a data plan, which isn't ideal because you're then streaming over a cellular connection (unless you've got some local media to use).

Even routers that can take the hotel's wi-fi network and turn it into a new, private Wi-Fi network still come up against a login page based on what we can tell from the testing we've done ourselves and the collective wisdom of Reddit, though your mileage may vary.

If there is a wired access point you can use in your hotel chains of choice, then everything's straightforward: your pocket router gives you control over the Wi-Fi network you set up, making it much easier to connect. What's more, the newest Chromecast has an Ethernet port built into the power adaptor, so you may not need a router at all, depending on how the network's been configured in your hotel.

Registering your Chromecast with the hotel network

There is one other way to get your Chromecast connected which is to somehow register its MAC address without actually going through the official setup process. It's a fiddly solution, but it has been known to work.

The MAC address for your Chromecast, which can be used to identify it as a device on the hotel network, appears in the Home app during the setup process, so start this as normal and then make a note of it once it appears.

If you're lucky, ask them nicely and the IT support people for your hotel's Wi-Fi service might register it for you. Otherwise you're going to have to get creative by using a laptop to pretend to be the Chromecast, getting it registered, and then rebooting your devices.

MAC spoofing isn't a simple process, but it can be done on macOS or Windows. It's just a question of how desperate you are to cast Netflix to the big screen in your hotel. After all, if you've got a decent-sized laptop, you don't necessarily need a Chromecast anyway.

Hotels aren't really built for Chromecasts and vice versa, and even if you can get connected, the network configuration may not allow you to stream away to your heart's content. Still, if you're determined to get up and running, the ideas above should be enough to point you in the right direction.

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Comments

    This seems like a lot of work for zero benefit. What can a Chromecast do that your phone/tablet/laptop can't do on it's own? I've never understood the purpose of Chromecast or AppleTV, they don't seem to do anything of value if you have a smartphone, tablet or laptop/desktop. Something like an Intel ComputeStick seems like it would be much, much easier to set-up and use in a travel scenario and I imagine it would offer a lot more functionality into the bargain.

      For 40 odd bucks can easily stream netflix, stan, youtube etc on your TV using your phone as the control instead of a janky smart tv interface. Great if you don't have a smart TV either.

    Yeah, this seems like a LOT of effort, when half of these solutions require a laptop or other device to work anyway, why not just plug your laptop into the HDMI port to start with? Or, if you're going to buy another device to do some fancy networking, why not just buy a device that'll work properly without the horrible network BS Chromecast puts you through?

    Pocket WiFi. Problem solved.

    I paid $5 for a data SIM linked to my main SIM, stuck it in an old pocket WiFi device I had and now I just bring that with me when I travel. The Chromecast only uses a tiny amount of data to initialise the player when you first start the cast, so it caters for people with small data caps too.

    Also I wouldn't cast on a hotel WiFi network. Anyone else on the network with an Android device will be able to stop your stream thanks to Google's decision to broadcast playback control over local networks now. Good for home, bad for "public" networks.

    Last edited 16/01/17 12:11 pm

      I still don't get what you'd use it for, though. Wouldn't it be much easier to carry a $10 Miracast dongle and connect your phone to the TV, instead of a Wi-Fi Hotspot with a separate SIM plus a Chromecast?

      Last edited 16/01/17 12:37 pm

        The Chromecast lives in one of the rooms at home normally, and the pocket WiFi was one I I had sitting around. So all up I was only $5 out of pocket.

        Laptop screens are small and Miracast means your phone screen has to be running the video as well. The Chromecast picks up all the load, so you can use your phone while the stream is playing. Thanks to hdmi-cec you can control the playback with the TV remote too.

        I'm assuming you're a Windows fan?

        Last edited 16/01/17 1:16 pm

    Love my Chromecast, I use it every day. I've only taken it away with me once, but the TV in the hotel room wouldn't fit the length of the Chromecast due how the TV was designed. Luckily I had brought my laptop with me!

    I'll probably get one of the UHD versions if I ever get the NBN.

    I have successfully used Connectify to create a hotspot in my laptop that routes the Wi-Fi (my laptop is logged into hotel Wi-Fi or Ethernet) to my own SSID. Makes it really easy because there is no mucking about on the Chromecast -- it's the same settings every time.

    The hotels I've stayed at, have the rear of the TV's covered so you can't get to the ports. They don't want you hooking up your hard drive/Xbox/video player/lap top to their TV to watch movies. They'd rather you rent a movie from them, and they make a pretty penny out of it.

    It's ridiculous that it "needs" an internet connection to work.
    Also hate that all the latest phones now don't support MHL I have a feeling Google had something to do with that.

    Last edited 16/01/17 5:58 pm

      How do you imagine that it will stream Netflix without an internet connection?

        I don't. One could have local content no?!

        yep and now with netflix allowing to download episodes streaming netflix on holidays will be a thing of the past. I mainly use it for local content. What pisses me off is that you need to go via a router? why cant you just wifi direct to it? Bloody stupid.

        I also have a Note 5 and doesn't have mhl support so no hdmi dongles for me.. :(

    When shopping for tablets, I specifically chose one (Nvidia Shield) with a HDMI output port. With it, I only need to plug in a cheap HDMI cable to the TV instead of a dongle and I'm able to mirror everything on my tablet to the TV without all the setup fuss Chromecast puts you through. Tablets are so cheap these days, if yours doesn't have an HDMI output, buy one that does and leave the Chromecast at home.

    I was in a hotel rooftop bar in Spain visiting a relation who was staying in the hotel, I had the hotel wifi password and someone, somewhere had a chromecast in use. Peppa Pig was just for starters.

    I actually worked out that if you can get internet access via Wifi on your samsung device (in my case S7 Edge) you can create a mobile hotspot and it will redirect the data usage. i turned off my mobile data network and streamed no worries through the hotel wifi to my chromecast.

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