February 8, 2007

Rock Your Hotel room TV: Use it as an iPod speaker system

Okay, so a lot of turned-on road warriors may have been doing this for a while. I know I've been thinking of doing for about a year but I kept forgetting to take the right cable. What is it? Playing an iPod, or other MP3 player, including a laptop, through the speakers in the hotel room TV.

About a year ago I noticed that a lot of hotels have been upgrading their TVs. Many now have stereo speakers. And quite a few have auxiliary inputs for video and audio. If you're lucky, these inputs are on the front of the box (sometimes they are exposed, other times they are hidden behind a plastic panel). With the right cable you can simply plug in your music player, switch the TV to AUX input, and get a decent room-filling sound.

On this latest trip to Malaysia I finally remember to bring along the right cable. Mini stereo plug on one end, left and right phono plugs on the other. Actually, the cable also has a video plug on each as well, handy for sending movies and photos from my digital camera to the TV screen. Not all hotel TV remotes have an AUX or alternative Video input button so you may have to select this on the front panel of the TV box.

My room at the Prince Hotel in Kuala Lumpur has a very nice Sony Triniton with stereo speakers and I am really enjoying the sound of my playlists on them. It is definitely richer than the sound on the small iPod travel speakers I have tried.

p.s. Hotels in Kuala Lumpur seem to be one of the world's best travel bargains. For $88 per night The Prince Hotel gives you a large, ultra-modern room with loads of tasteful woodwork and a superb view. Okay, you have to pay $12 a day extra if you want high speed Internet. But where else can you get a hotel this good with high speed Internet for $100? The service is first rate. The staff are cheerful and polite, attentive but discreet. Want room service to come back at 4PM because you're busy blogging. No problem and no grumbling. And no clumsy "Do not disturb signs." There's no annoying knocking on doors here--each room has its own electronic bell that guests can control from inside the room. And when you step outside your room you find the hallway is scented with aromatherapy oils.

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