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Recent Macs such as the MacBook Pro have no problem adding a second monitor (or even a third with the Thunderbolt iMacs), but what about an HDTV for video playback at up to 1080p? As it turns out, for only $99 you will soon be able to do it from a mild-mannered USB port.
Kanex has announced preorders for their new mLinq adapter box, a “premium grade” USB to HDMI audio and video converter offering a cost-effective way to get a second or third HD display for a mere $99. The company claims that the mLinq is a great companion for older Macs without a Mini DisplayPort connector, allowing use of an HD projector, monitor or HDTV.
So how does it work? The mLinq requires a one-time software installation, but after that you simply plug the adapter into an available USB port (no word on whether or not it works with USB hubs), plug an HDTV into the available HDMI port and go -- the mLinq doesn’t even require power, since it’s powered via the same USB port and an LED light will show you when it’s in use.
The only downside is that the Kanex mLinq is limited to Intel-based Macs -- older models running G5 or older processors are not supported. The adapter claims to have been tested extensively with Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6, and is capable of pushing both audio and video over HDMI -- you’ll have to go to System Preferences > Sound to select the adapter for audio output.
No word on when the mLinq will actually start shipping, but Kanex is accepting preorders for the device right now. The mLinq will also work just fine with Windows 7 and Vista (32 or 64-bit) or the 32-bit version of Windows XP as well.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter