There are few things more frustrating than hotel cable, which seems designed to coerce you into purchasing pay-per-view. (And don’t even get us started on what happens when you turn the TV off and on and find it reset to that channel that does nothing but promote on-site buffets and spa services.)
But if you’ve ever tried to bring your own set-top streaming device on vacation, you’ve probably run up against a seemingly insurmountable roadblock. The problem: Even if your hotel has Wi-Fi, the chances are pretty good that it’s the type that requires you log in via your Web browser. This is no problem with you’re on a laptop or phone where you can easily access a keyboard and Web browser, but an absolute no-go if you’re trying to stream shows on TV.
BUY: Roku Streaming Stick, $50; amazon.com
VIDEO: Four Apps That Make You Money While Travelling
Which is why the Roku Streaming Stick is the best streaming device for folks living out of a suitcase. Not only is it super small (it’s about the size of a USB thumb drive) for easy stowage, but a feature called Hotel & Dorm Connect endows it with the rare ability to sidestep this hotel Wi-Fi hurdle. The secret: It wirelessly chats with your laptop, phone, or tablet, allowing you to handle the Web-based log-in there, before binge-watching your Netflix queue on the hotel set.
Wins for: Compactness and the ability to stream shows over finicky hotel TVs
- “Hotel & Dorm Connect” lets it stream on hotel TVs that normally don’t work with set-top streaming devices
- Access to virtually every streaming service
See the rest of InStyle's 2017 Best of Tech picks here.