Not long ago, I wrote about cutting the cord using Apple devices. In the section on using a Mac, I focused on general advice applicable to all machines, but those who’ve tried to make their Apple notebook the center of their entertainment setup know that MacBooks bring unique challenges. Here are a few tips to help overcome those hurdles.
1. Install InsomniaX
Insomnia X is a freeware app that lets you prevent your Mac notebook from going to sleep when you close the lid. Apple lets you do this without installing any special software with a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse, but that method doesn’t work if you’re using your iOS device to control your Mac, or a universal remote. InsomniaX will let you use your MacBook in clamshell mode with your existing remote, making it feel much more like a true home theatre PC (HTPC).
Keeping the lid closed will not only save energy and prolong the life of your notebook display, but could even improve your Mac’s performance, since it only has to power one screen instead of two.
2. Use a Stand
Stands like the Twelve South BookArc can hold your MacBook securely in an upright position next to or behind the TV, keeping it cool and out of the way. If you’re using your notebook as a dedicated HTPC, you might want to get a little more ambitious and come up with a DIY solution for affixing your MacBook to the VESA mount on the back of your TV, keeping it completely out of view.
3. Simplify Your Life With Combo Cables
If you want to keep cable clutter to a minimum, you can get combo cables that provide both audio and visual through Mini DisplayPort and USB to a single female HDMI connector. If you’re lucky enough to have a more recent MacBook Pro (purchased since the April 2010 update), the Mini DisplayPort should output audio as well as video to HDMI adapters.
Any other tips for notebook-toting cord cutters? Share them in the comments, and check out the video below for setting up Boxee with a Mac notebook.
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