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AirPlay Now Available in 60+ IHG Hotels in North America

Apple writes:

Starting today, guests staying at select properties from IHG Hotels & Resorts, including Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Hotel Indigo, Candlewood Suites, and InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, can use AirPlay to privately and securely stream their favorite shows and movies on Apple TV+ and other popular streaming services, listen to personal playlists on Apple Music or other platforms, view vacation photos, practice a presentation, play fun games on Apple Arcade, or get a workout or meditation in with Apple Fitness+ on the big screen in their guest rooms. More than 60 IHG properties in North America are introducing AirPlay today, with others to be added in the coming months.

To connect, you’ll scan a QR code on the screen of a compatible LG hotel TV. Apple takes pains to note that every room gets a unique QR code and your connection is erased when you check out, ensuring that no one else can see your activity or piggyback on your account.

Apple announced the AirPlay in hotels feature at WWDC in 2023, but it didn’t see the light of day until early this year, when it debuted in iOS 17.3 and iPadOS 17.3 (see “iOS 17.3 Stands Out from Other OS Updates with Stolen Device Protection,” 22 January 2024). Nothing has been mentioned about using AirPlay from a Mac to play media or—more interestingly for many—extend the desktop, but I hope someone staying at one of these hotels can try it and report back. At WWDC, all Apple said was:

With so much media at your fingertips on your iPhone and iPad, you can enjoy your content from anywhere, even when traveling. That’s why we’re excited about launching AirPlay in hotels. With AirPlay support in hotels, it’s easy to take advantage of the big screen in your room to watch an episode of your favorite show or practice tomorrow’s presentation. Pairing is simple. Just scan the QR code and tap the confirmation. That’s it. You’re automatically connected to Wi-Fi and ready to resume watching from right where you left off. AirPlay will be available in select hotels before the end of the year with more to follow.

Apple was a few months off its promised date, but given the complexity of working with IHG to install compatible TVs and backend systems in numerous hotels, it’s an understandable lapse.

I can’t see myself seeking out an AirPlay-equipped hotel purely for that reason, but all else being roughly equal, AirPlay support would tip the balance in favor of a specific establishment.

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Comments About AirPlay Now Available in 60+ IHG Hotels in North America

Notable Replies

  1. On a recent road trip, the rental house at our destination had a TV that did AirPlay. I found it a bit finicky to get working, requiring ensuring both the TV and iDevice were on exactly the same WiFi network (there were four with a repeater and 2.4/5 GHz variants). The hotels on the drive there and back had non-AirPlay TVs with HDMI inputs.

    In some of those locations, I could just plug into one of the available HDMI ports and switch to that input on the TV. At other locations, with the same brand TV and an identical remote, the button used to switch inputs gave an error message “button not currently in use.” In those cases, I just unplugged the set-top box attached to the back of the TV from the HDMI 1 input and plugged into that (then restored things when we were done).

    Playing streaming apps from my 2020 iPad Pro, I got a washed out purple version of the iPad image. To fix that, I went to Settings/Display & Brightness, clicked on the TV in the list of displays, then disabled “high dynamic range” to fix the purple image and enabled “allow display mode changes” to fix the double letterboxing.

    I probably need a better HDMI cable for travel, but standard dynamic range was just fine for watching streaming apps.

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