Guide to Using Your Mac as an HTPC (Home Theater PC)

Using Your Mac In Your Home Theater

2 kids watching a movie

Robert Daly / Getty Images 

Your Mac can be the center of your home theater, essentially turning your Mac into an HTPC (Home Theater PC). Once you have your Mac, your TV, and your multi-channel receiver all hooked up, you're ready to share all of the multimedia content stored on your Mac. You can watch your home movies, check out your iTunes video collection, or just browse the web on a really big screen. And don't forget: games can be an entirely new playing experience on a huge TV.

Want to get connected and make the best use of your Mac and HDTV? Just follow our list of guides below!

Connect Your Mac to Your HDTV

This is the newest version of our guide to connecting your Mac to your TV. It includes information for connecting Macs with Mini DisplayPorts, as well as how to troubleshoot a picture that refuses to appear on your TV.

Elgato EyeTV 250 Plus for the Mac

Elgato's EyeTV 250 Plus is a small USB-based TV tuner and DVR (Digital Video Recorder) for the Mac. The EyeTV 250 Plus lets you turn your Mac into the equivalent of a TiVo recorder, without the yearly subscription fees.

The EyeTV 250 Plus can receive free over-the-air HDTV signals as well as work with analog cable and unencrypted digital cable signals (Clear QAM). The EyeTV 250 Plus also has S-Video and Composite Video inputs, and can help you digitize your collection of VHS tapes.

Getting Surround Sound From Your Mac to Your AV Receiver Using VLC

Using your Mac as an HTPC (Home Theater PC) is pretty easy, right out of the box. Hook your Mac up to your HDTV and settle in to watch your favorite movies or TV shows. There is, however, one little quirk that sometimes leads people to think their Mac can't handle movies with 5.1 surround sound.

Let's start by settling that question right off. Can your Mac make use of surround sound in movies and TV shows? The answer is: it sure can!

How to Copy DVDs to Your Mac Using HandBrake

Copying DVDs to your Mac using HandBrake can be a great idea for many reasons. First, DVDs can be easily damaged, especially if a DVD is one your children like to watch over and over and over. By creating a copy that can be loaded into your iTunes library, you can easily use your Mac to watch a DVD without any wear or tear on the DVD itself.

The other great reason for copying a DVD is to convert it to another video format, say to watch on your iPod, iPhone, Apple TV, or even the iPad. Copying a DVD is relatively easy, but you will need some software to make the process possible.

Using an iMac as an External Display

The 27-inch iMac has a bi-directional Mini DisplayPort that can be used to drive a second monitor. You can use the same Mini DisplayPort as a video input that allows your iMac to serve as a monitor for an external video source. All you need is the proper adapter.

Apple TV 3 Review

The current version of Apple TV is an all-streaming solution for watching video on your HDTV. TV shows and movies are available from multiple sources: iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, and a large number of cable and broadcast channels. iTunes offers content to rent or purchase while Netflix and Hulu is rental only.

You can also stream to the Apple TV from your Mac or other devices, turning the Apple TV into the center of your home theater.

Elgato EyeConnect UPnP Streaming Media Server for the Mac

EyeConnect from Elgato is an easy-to-use streaming media server that lets you watch videos, listen to music, or view pictures on your HDTV. All you need is a Mac, a local network, and a UPnP AV media device connected to your HDTV.

How to Connect Your iPad to Your TV

Whether you have an old TV from the dark ages or the newest HDTV on the market, it's actually rather simple to get your iPad hooked up to your television.