I'm a techie, so more often than not, I'm traveling with my own entertainment. From my first video iPod a few years back, to my iPhone, now my iPad, and of course the laptop that's always with me on trips, I'm never short of video to watch when I'm on the road. When I turn on the hotel TV, it's usually been to watch something live and important. The Olympics. Hockey playoffs. A political convention. Even Nixon's funeral.
Hotel television sets have traditionally been locked down, not just in the chained-to-the-desk sense, but in the can't-hook-up-your-DVD-player sense. Hotels want to protect their equipment from theft or fiddling, but they also want to protect their entertainment revenue stream. Yes, they want your $8, $10, even $13 per pay-per-view movie. Is that realistic, or are you bringing along a $1 Redbox rental disc or Netflix disc, firing up the laptop, and leaving the hotel TV dark?
Marriott has been gradually rolling out digital video gear in its full-service hotels, aimed at letting you hook up that laptop to the room's TV and enjoy a better viewing experience with your movie, or for that matter, do a business presentation on a bigger screen than the one you brought with you.
These "Jack Packs," deployed in most hotels across the Marriott, J.W. Marriott, and Renaissance chains, feature common laptop video connectors, and either there's a VGA cable or the like in the closet or desk drawer (where you used to find the Ethernet cable), or you can get one from the front desk.
Since these first started turning up in hotels, I've gotten back in the habit of carrying my MacBook's video adapters on trips, so I can plug into the TV. (I don't have the needed video adapters for my iPad yet, but I can see hooking that up to a TV to watch a movie, too.)
So, have you used these video hookup panels in Marriott (or other) hotels? Have you found they have the wrong connectors or cables for your needs? Found them too confusing? Do you want to bring your movies with you and watch them on the hotel TV? Spring for the in-room pay-per-view movies? Or just relax on the bed with your iPad?