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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 09-30-2004, 03:00 AM
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Default Hotel TV Hacking,1558,1381519,00.asp?kc=ETRSS02129TX1K0000532

"Safely ensconced in my hotel, I wanted to record the Yankees-Red Sox game while I was in meetings. I had the right equipment with me, obviously. But then I was confronted by the evil system called "LodgeNet." LodgeNet is the in-room entertainment option at many of the hotels around the world. LodgeNet provides TV, movies on demand, video games and other services. To keep costs down, LodgeNet-based TVs are simple affairs, delivering video only through basic coaxial cable, and lacking any sort of alternative video output. Even worse, the company locks those coaxial cables onto the TV, making it impossible to unscrew them and plug them into your own device. So to get my game recorded, I was going to have to hack into LodgeNet. Most televisions these days accept three different kinds of video signals. Before you attempt to hack into any hotel video service, you'll need to know what you're up against..."

This is a pretty funny article about the lengths that Jim Louderback went to in order to record a baseball game. :lol: Myself, I find it frustrating how limited the TV sets are in most hotels, even for something as simple as wanting to hook up my laptop to play a DVD on the bigger screen - most hotels have older TV sets that lack the various input/outputs that we've become used to. The hotels aren't exactly eager to update their TV sets either - they want you to pay for the $10 movie rentals from LodgeNet rather than play one of your own DVDs.

I bought an RF modulator, and while I have yet to remember to bring with me, if I ever remember it should allow me to connect RCA and S-Video connections to an older-style TV set...unless the coax cable is welded on. 8O Have any hotel hacking stories?
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Old 09-30-2004, 03:44 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Default Hotel Hacking

Another thing about hotel TVs is that hotels never keep the on-screen channel ID's up to date anymore and I always wished I could oblige in doing so. The one thing I always do on a hotel TV is work with the on-board buttons, pressing combinations of 'em to see if they unlock anything. That hasn't produced any good hacks, yet.
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Old 09-30-2004, 04:10 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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I went to Baltimore MD one year for a wedding. We stayed at this nice hotel right by the inner harbour. the hotel had a nice data plan, like $10/day but it was per device and here I am with two rooms, my parents in one room with 2 laptops and 2 ppcs and me and my girlfriend in another room with another 2 laptops and 2 ppcs and we all wanted to get online. Our rooms were on opposite sides of this inner wall but close enough so that I could get a wifi signal. so I took my dad's laptop which had both lan and wifi and I hooked the lan side to the hotels lan, then I put his wifi card in ad-hoc mode and enabled ics. From there we had all laptops and ppcs connecting through his laptop all sharing one ip and one connection bill. I even had each laptop setup to vpn back into my network so we could pull our exchange mail down and so I could transfer the pictures I'd taken that day to my file server
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Old 09-30-2004, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by that_kid
...and here I am with two rooms, my parents in one room with 2 laptops and 2 ppcs and me and my girlfriend in another room with another 2 laptops and 2 ppcs and we all wanted to get online.
Dude, that's a lot of hardware for only four people. :lol: Very impressive hacking!
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Old 09-30-2004, 04:20 PM
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One of my big problems with hotel TVs is the remote control. It is always a no-frills device and I almost invariably have to train Nevo (on my PocketPC) to control it.

BTW, this article is awesome. Good link, Jason.

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Old 10-01-2004, 02:48 AM
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My memory of the exact actions we took are pretty hazy, since it was about 15-18 years ago, but back then, I used to spend about 4-6 weeks every winter in Kansas City at a Rodeway Inn while working at our company's training center. Being enterprising service persons, we discovered how to bypass the security guard that prevented removal of the cable to the cable box on the TV, and discovered that if we bypassed the box and plugged the cable directly into the TV, we could get all of the PayPerView movie channels (including porn :twisted: ) for free.

In case you're curious, the cable was secured with the same kind of plastic sleeve/cylinder described in the article. However, we found that shoving that good old-fashioned room key in the back and aligning the tip with a flat on the cable retaining nut allowed you to unscrew it - we could unhook it without damaging the sleeve at all!

Needless to say, this was the first mod that we would do upon checking into the hotel room. Unfortunately, this 'hack' only lasted a year or so - the hotel changed brands of 'cable boxes', and started encrypting the cable signal - plugging the cable directly into the TV resulted in garbage on the screen, although the audio track was clear. Somehow, having just the audio track makes porn seem incredibly hilarious.......
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Old 10-27-2004, 04:39 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Default AKAI Guestlink

Do you know how to hack the Akai Guestlink TV Hotel system?
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Old 12-09-2004, 11:35 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1
Default Lodgenet Hacking Help

I have spent about 3 years on the road and now have a pretty good setup to watch my own DVDs on hotel TVs. :twisted: I have come across only one hotel that had the V-L-R input enabled so that I didn't need an RF modulator. And I have stayed at just one hotel that the TV didn't have a channel 3 or 4 available so your chances are good that the following will work at most if not all hotels.

First of all you will need a source like a portable DVD or VCR. :!:

Next get a small RF modulator; the one I use is from Radio Shack, $30. Itís small enough to fit in my luggage and has V-L-R inputs. One thing to note is that even though many RF mods on the market advertise that they are stereo, none will let you hear stereo sound through the TV, they are all stereo "pass through" devices and require a stereo amp/speakers to hear real stereo, so skip these if they are larger or more expensive than a standard V-L-R input types. Note: the L-R and merged inside the RF mod so you will hear both channels, but it will be in mono sound.

Patch cables; for connection from the DVD to RF mod. My DVD came with a custom cable, but most places carry generic cables. Two RF cables, one short and one longer, for flexibility, to connect the RF mod to the back of the TV. It is also very helpful to get a super short (6 inch) extension cord from radio shack. It will allow you to plug in all the equipment if there isnít any open plugs near the TV are left.

Third you will need some thing to remove the sleeve most hotel use to prevent "unauthorized use". I have :twisted: "SLEEVE REMOVAL TOOL" :twisted: that I bought from MCM Electronics for about 10 dollars. This is available to the general public and you can also buy the sleeves from them also, but they are treated steel sleeves. This tool slips under the sleeve and allows you to unscrew the cable.

Connect your equipment to the back of the TV. You can connect it to the Lodgenet box if you want, and it will still work, but I have found that if you connect to the TV input, you will not have to constantly change channels when ever you want to switch from TV to DVD or back again.

Finally I always take my DVD with me when I leave the room for the day, but I leave all my equipment connected. I just tuck it back a little bit, the hotel cleaning staff has never disturbed it, I think most either don't notice it or know what it is. Only one hotel has ever discovered my stuff and disconnected it. :x : The story was, I complained the remote needed new batteries. They replaced the batteries during the day when I was out. The maintenance staff blamed the problem on my equipment and removed it, and then replaced the batteries. Like I said, I have connected this setup to hotels all over the US and Canada, and this was the first time that it was blamed as a problem. The LED indicator was not lighting up when a key was pressed so I know it was a battery problem. Also when I got back to the room and found out what they did, I reconnected every thing and didn't have a problem, so I know their excuse of my RF mod being connected was ********. :x : I was not charged anything extra or reprimanded any further, :lol: although I did remove the sleeve again and left it on the tabletop when I checked out. I wonder if they got the message. :? :

The one thing I have not found is a universal remote that will control the Lodgenet system. The closest I have come so far is that I have found an RCA remote that has some of the coded programmed in with the code numbers 111 and 119. The problem is that they are not mapped correctly. Like the channel up is the number 3 on the Lodgetnet system. :? :If any one has had any luck in "hacking" the Lodgenet remote or knows of a remote that can control Lodgenet, post a replay!
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Old 12-10-2004, 03:22 AM
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Welcome to Digital Media Thoughts cowboyX! :-) Thanks for the story - you really are a "hacker"! :wink:
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