Enabling external inputs on Philips iTV

Whenever I stay in a hotel, I always take my iPod Classic, loaded with movies and TV shows, and a video cable so that if I’m bored I don’t have to watch whatever rubbish happens to be on at the time.  Most hotel TVs have at least a composite video input, so this generally works, but I recently encountered a Philips iTV that despite having a decent selection of inputs, had no way to select them on either the TV or the remote control.

Philips iTV (short for “Institutional TV”, though their newer models have the altogether more welcoming “Hospitalty TV” label) televisions are made specifically for use in hotels, hospitals and the like, and have the ability to restrict the features available to guests, and provide pay per view services and so on.

There are a number of different models with different operating software and configuration options, and it may not always be possible to change the settings without a special master remote control, but if you’re lucky (as I was) you may be able to get into the service menu using just the guest remote in the room, and enable the external inputs.

Before you try messing around with the settings, it’s worth connecting your device, pressing play, and trying all of the channels in turn to see if it shows up.   These TVs have the ability to map analogue channels, digital channels and external inputs into a single channel list.  If they’ve already mapped the external inputs like this, what looks like channel 20 (say) may well be the HDMI input, but you won’t know (or be able to tell which channel is which input) unless you try it.  This is most likely where there are a set of channels that do not initially appear to be tuned to anything.

If you still don’t have any luck you can try the following process.  Note that this “hijacks” one of the existing channels.  In my case there were a number of channels at the top of the range that were not tuned to anything, so I used one of those, but if that isn’t the case, you should probably make a note of the original settings for the channel so that you can restore it when you’re done.  It may be possible to add a new channel (possibly using the “No of Programs” option), but I haven’t tried that.

Here’s the process to map an external input to an existing channel (called a “program” in the menus):

  1. press the following button sequence on the remote: 3, 1, 9, 7, 5, 3, mute.  With any luck you’ll see the Setup Menu
  2. Use the down arrow key to move the highlight to “Program Install” and the right arrow key to enter that sub-menu
  3. Leave the highlight on “Program No.” and use the number keys to select the channel you want to use.
  4. Move down to “Input” and use the left and right arrow keys to change the input from “tuner” to the input you want.  The picture from the selected input is displayed behind the menu, so if you leave your source connected and playing, that will help you pick the right one.
  5. When you’ve selected the correct input, move down to “Store” and press the right arrow to store the change.
  6. Use the Menu button to exit from the menu.
  7. Watch your movie!