HDMI

Can I get a docking station for my MacBook Pro?

Episode 1061

Bob from Hisperia, CA

Bob is replacing a PC laptop and docking station with a 13" Mac Pro with Retina. He needs docking stations on both ends with external monitors and network connections. Leo says that Apple doesn't do docking stations anymore. Thunderbolt monitors will handle the external part with connectors for keyboards and monitors. All he'll need to do is plug it in. He won't even have to open the MacBook Pro.

Why doesn't surround sound work with my new Plasma TV?

Episode 1056

Matthew from Wrightwood, CA

Matt just bought a new Samsung Plasma 3D TV with surround sound. The TV isn't working with the surround sound, though. Leo says Matt has to have the ARC Audio return channel. It'll be designated on the side of the TV, and it may not be on HDMI input 1. It probably is input 2. He doesn't really need a special cable, he just needs to enable it. He should look for ARC on the TV itself. Another way is to connect the speakers with optical cables.

How can I use an AppleTV on an older TV?

Episode 1044

Gary from Dana Point, CA

Gary has a 3rd Generation Apple TV, but he doesn't have an HDTV with an HDMI connection. Leo says that Gary can get an HDMI to component adapter. Leo advises checking MonoPrice.com.

There's a converter from Gefen, and the KanexPro. It's not cheap, and he will lose some quality. That's why Leo says it might be time to get a new HDTV. A Vizio TV would be affordable and has HDMI.

Should I use Cat 5 or 6 Ethernet in my house?

Episode 1014

Dave from California

Dave has been using Cat 5e Ethernet and plans to put it in his home, but now everyone is using Cat 6 because of gigabit Ethernet. Using Cat 6 going forward will future proof him, but at the end of the day, Wireless is a pretty strong technology. It's also way easier to setup. However, if the walls are open while he's building the house, he may as well do it. There's really no such thing as future proofing with any hardware, though. Eventually, it's going to be outdated. If Cat 6 is too pricey, 5e is fine. And he can double up on plug sockets.

How can I use my Slingbox with DirecTV? (Part 1)

Slingbox

Episode 1006

Dale from Palmdale, CA

Dale has a Slingbox, and ever since he updated his Slingbox app on his phone, it won't work unless he uses the HDMI cable. Slingbox says it's the HDCP copy protection of DirecTV. Leo says that this is most likely true. Leo recommends checking to make sure his HDMI cable is HDCP compliant. It sounds like DirecTV is turning on copy-protection to frustrate users of devices like the SlingBox.

Can I use my camcorder as a webcam?

Episode 1003

Rick from New Jersey

Rick has a Panasonic camcorder and would like to use it as a high quality webcam. Leo says that it depends on the camera. Most new ones are able to do it via HDMI. Some have live HDMI.

Rick needs is a live component or composite. It has to be able to pass the video stream out of the camera and into the PC. HDMI makes it easy. If it doesn't have that, then Leo says a capture card is likely needed. Also, camcorders will time out after a set time, so he'll have to turn that off in the settings or "pop" the cassette to keep it going. Firewire will work as it is always live.