Connect Your Mac to Home Theater Components

Connect Your Mac to Home Theater Components

Use an HDTV as a Second Display

Most late-model high-definition TVs provide an HDMI-input port, but not all have a DVI-input port. What’s the difference? DVI is meant more for connecting your Mac to an external monitor. For connecting to a high-def set with HDMI, you’ll need a DVI-to-HDMI cable. The Philips PXT1196 ($15) is a good choice. MacBook and MacBook Pro owners will also need the Mini-DVI-to-DVI adapter ($19). Plug the HDMI end of the cable into the HDTV and the DVI end into your Mac. Your Mac will automatically send a signal to the TV, which has now become a second monitor. It’s handy to drag the iTunes window over to the HD display to use it as a kind of digital jukebox, or just spread out all of your Adobe Photoshop palettes on the newfound screen real estate.


One word of caution: It’s a good idea to check with your HDTV manufacturer before using the TV as a Mac display. We’ve heard tell of some Macs damaging an HDTV due to a refresh rate/signal sync problem. It’s an undocumented rumor at this point, but worth checking into.


These two cables can turn an HDTV into a second display for your Mac.


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Watch TV on Your Mac

Of course, you can skip the HDTV connection altogether and just watch TV on your Mac. This requires an adapter, since your Mac doesn’t have a coaxial cable jack. The $149.95 Elgato EyeTV Hybrid (4 out of 5 stars, Mar/07, p61) is a small USB adapter that also includes software for watching and controlling TV programming on your Mac. Let’s say you have a Dish Network ViP622 set-top box. To allow your Mac to receive signals and double as another TV set, connect RCA cables to the EyeTV Hybrid, which comes with an adapter for RCA input and the necessary RCA cables. For a high-def signal, the EyeTV Hybrid lets you receive over-the-air HD using an external antenna, also included with the device - but you do need a dual-processor Mac for HD.


Multiple input methods—including an HD antenna and RCA cables—mean you can connect just about any TV signal to your Mac.






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