Macintosh TV: How to watch TV on your Mac


PowerMac G4 667Mhz (Graphite)

Macintosh TV – Part 1:

Have an old Mac lying around or know someone who does? Well, get out your Operating System Disks and some tools, you can be ready to make your television début. It took some doing but I recently converted my old 733 Mhz G4 with about 2 GB of RAM into a Mac TV for under $50!

When getting started there are a few things to consider: 1. What do you want to get out of it? I wanted to save money and do away with my nearly $100 cable bill. 2. There are two ways to access media on demand: use Internet to connect to a variety of Television stations or use a TV tuner.

Internet TV

Watching television online has seen a variety of changes due to broadband. This means that more content arrives online through sites such as Hulu.com, Archive.org, Youtube, Netflix and Current.com. Hulu.com is by far the easiest to navigate, there are a decent amount of television shows, and it’s FREE. You simply perform a search, select and play. Hulu offers full screen mode using 380p or 480p screen size. It is beginning to distribute online media you can instantly stream online movies and TV episodes to your Mac. Perhaps the only disadvantage is that you can only access the full version of the most recent episodes.


To make this work you will need to pick up a few things. In my case I have a DVI and a VGA out on the back of my computer. You need to determine the type of graphics card you have installed so that you can make the right connections and not waste any money.

If you have a VGA connection you need to purchase a VGA to S-Video/RCA cable adapter (this is only for graphic card that has TV OUT function). Prices range from $1.00 – $8.00.

If you have an ADC or DVI card, the Avermedia Quickplay PC Mac-to-TV Converter is just under $70. You can also get a generic DVI to ADC connector for about $30.

You will also have to consider a remote using some sort of mouse and keyboard interface On the low end this will run you about $45 (Logitech Keyboard and Mouse) to about $75 for more expensive set-ups.

If you have an iPhone you can download the Air Mouse Pro App by R.P.A. Tech. This coupled with a simple wireless keyboard will make for a very Twenty-first Century interface.

Plug-in Codecs

It is also a good idea to make sure that your QuickTime Player has everything it needs to support as many formats as possible. The two main plugins out there for Quicktime are Perian and Flip4Mac. You can also upgrade Quicktime to the Pro version ($29.00) to get full screen playback. Front Row is also something to keep in mind as it supports full screen as well.

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