Free Hotel Pay Per Veiw
Here’s a tip for those of you that stay in Marriot hotels. Marriot has, to my knowledge, installed a pay-per-view (PPV) system nationwide called “On Command”. This system is probably similar to many such systems used in hotels today. As far as I can tell, there is a radio frequency module attached to the TV that signals some master hotel unit to order movies and add charges to your hotel bill.
I spent several months in a Marriot and found a way to tap into free movies without paying a penny. It all started in the exercise room. Early one morning, I noticed that my favorite cable news channel had not been programmed into the wall mounted TV. No one was around, so I just accessed the menu function and scrolled up the “raw” channels so that I could add my channel. As I hit channels 40, 41, and 42, I found movies. No scrambling and no requests for billing authorization. Nervously, I just skipped past and added my channel. When back in my room, I found that those three channels were unavailable and the menu function was not available on the room TV.
This got me thinking. The exercise room TV was just a regular TV with no PPV box on the back, unlike my room TV. So, did this mean that I could hook up a regular TV in my room and see these channels? I pulled the dresser away from the wall to get a good look at the back of the TV. All of the cable connections had plastic protectors that made it impossible to disconnect. It looked like a single cable came out of the wall and then connected into the On Command PPV module. Out of this box it went into the back of the TV. I dove into my computer bag, pulled out a screw driver, and removed the wall plate from the hotel wall. Behind this place was a common cable splitter—with no plastic protectors. Bingo!
I now had a way to splice into the cable system before it got to my TV. At that point, all I had to do was hook a regular TV up and see if I could get those channels. Now, the maid would certainly sound the alarm if she found a second TV hooked up. Not an option. Instead, I ran down to the local electronics superstore and bought a device that would let me watch TV on my computer (Pinnacle PCTV Deluxe). Radio Shack provided a short cable, a 1-to-2 splitter, and some connectors. I figured, if it didn’t work, I could just return it all.
Then, I waited until until late at night to try my hack. If I accidently brought the hotel’s cable system down, I wanted to do it in the middle of the night when few viewers were watching and I could plead ignorance. I just added my Radio Shack splitter between their splitter and my TV’s cable. That created one new empty cable jack for my computer’s use. I then connected my new cable and hooked it up to my new Pinnacle box. I opened the software and presto, ABC was playing on my computer. The picture was great. I checked the TV and it was also functioning fine. Both my TV and computer got great pictures and I could watch different channels. Both my TV and Pinnacle box had remotes, so I could lie on the bed and watch two channels at one time.
But, what would I find at channels 40 thru 42? Well, non-stop movies actually. This is what I think is going on. When navigating the PPV menus on the TV, there are two options for the adult channels. First, you can order specific movies for about £10