When you’re traveling and have your portable media streaming device along (Roku, AppleTV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV), you’d like to use it with your hotel room’s TV to watch movies, shows, sports, or whatever you want to see on a nice-sized screen. The problem is that the hotel’s wireless network usually requires either a password or, at minimum, for you to click a button accepting the terms and conditions before you can navigate to anything on the Internet. There’s no built-in way to enter a password or even click that “accept” button on a streaming media player. When you try to connect to Netflix, Amazon streaming video, Hulu, MLBTV for baseball, or any other on-line video source, you get a stuck screen and no access. The hotel’s network is waiting for you to supply the password or to accept the terms and conditions, and your media player doesn’t allow you to do that.
You could always watch your movies or shows on your tablet (or even your smart phone) but that’s not ideal.
Enter HooToo TripMate. This pocket-sized wireless device provides an interface between your streaming media player and any other device with a browser: a laptop, a tablet, or a smart phone. Connect the three devices, log onto the hotel network using your laptop, tablet, or phone, and you’re already logged on when you go to the streaming media player to connect to the video source.
The way to use the device is a little complicated, but doesn’t take long and it’s quite handy on business trips. Here’s how it works. Let’s use a Roku player as an example.
When you turn on the Tripmate, it creates a network of its own with your browser device – let’s say it’s a phone. This network will appear in the list of networks accessible from your phone. There’s a password which defaults to 11111111 (eight 1s), but of course you can reset the password to whatever you like and can remember easily. Connect to this TripMate network using the password.
The next step is to connect to the IP address for the HooToo device. This IP address is 10.10.10.254. Entering this address into your browser brings up a screen asking for a user name and password, but unless the factory defaults have changed there’s no password actually required. The user name is “admin” (all lower case, and be careful with that because it’s case sensitive). Enter that, leave the password blank, and you should be good to go.
Next step is to connect all of this to the Internet. You’re still in the screens that appeared on connecting to HooToo via the IP address. Once you’ve done that, you’ll see a menu of choices, one of which is “Network.” Choose that. A menu of secondary choices appears under the heading “Network Settings.” Make sure you specify Internet and wireless access. From a drop-down menu of available networks, choose the one for your hotel. Touch the “Save” button, leaving the password blank. What you’ve done here is to instruct any secondary device (such as your Roku player) connecting to the TripMate network to use it as a link to the hotel network.
With all that done, go to the Roku device. For this, you don’t want to try to connect the Roku device directly to the hotel’s wireless network, but rather to the TripMate network, which is itself connecting to the hotel’s network. Select that network, which should appear on your list of networks available on your Roku player. You’ll be prompted to enter the password, which is the same one used to connect the TripMate with your phone (eight 1s by default). Now you’re in and good to go, right?
Not quite. There’s one more step. Go back to your phone, open another tab in the browser, and navigate to your hotel network’s log-in screen. (This should appear on redirect when you try to navigate anywhere.) Enter the password or accept the terms and conditions. Now your phone is logged into the hotel network, and the TripMate network is set up to go through that, and the wireless network recognizes that any device connected to the TripMate has logged in properly.
All of which is complicated to write down, but it’s a simple three-step process:
- Connect your browser device to the TripMate’s network and to the TripMate itself via IP address.
- Connect your Roku player to the TripMate network.
- Log in to the hotel network via your browser device as if you were going to use that.
The TripMate, as you can see in the photo, is no bigger than most smart phones, and adds very little to your baggage, but a lot to your enjoyment of the trip.