Questions about using a monitor as TV while connected to my macbook

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by cmanco, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. cmanco macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    #1
    I plan on getting a macbook for college before fall. I have also been reading on how it is relatively simple to use a monitor as a TV. All you have to do is buy a tv card that runs from 50-80 dollars. I have a few questions about this.

    1. Can I have my monitor connected to my laptop and have it running an extended screen and watch tv on the monitor and be on my laptop doing something else.

    2. If I am running an extended screen on my monitor when I have my laptop open, what do I have to do to be able to just shut my laptop and have everything project onto the monitor, making it my regular screen, not the extended desktop.

    3. I plan on studying business and accounting in college, and therefore I believe I will be spending a lot of time on excel and word. From what I've read Microsoft office is horrid on the macbook. Should I just stick to a PC even though I really want a mac?
     
  2. STXSTEVE macrumors member

    STXSTEVE

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #2
    1. As long as your tv supports some sort of PC input yes you can run your tv as a second display.

    2. You can close your laptop and wake it while closed with a mouse, secondary keyboard, or apple remote.

    3. Yes Microsoft office is a little less powerful in its Mac form but it should be able to do everything you need it to do for college.
     
  3. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #3
    As STXSTEVE said on 1 and 2.

    I work at a research lab that does some pretty heavy lifting with Excel and Word, and we've never had any significant trouble with Mac Office. There are on rare occasions some cross-platform weirdness with Powerpoint and possibly Word, but these are almost uniformly related to embedded video files, with embedded images in odd formats coming in second and font issues a very distant third. I should probably note that I think Office is horrid on Windows as well, and if anything the recent Mac versions have been better (at least through 2004).

    The one potential issue you may have is with VisualBasic support in Excel, or rather lack thereof; while Office 2004 Mac is fine, Microsoft shot Excel in the knee in version 2008 by removing VisualBasic support entirely from the Mac version. This was particularly disastrous because it killed Solver.

    Fortunately, Solver has been resurrected as a free 3rd party add-on in 2008 Mac, albeit with a few caveats.

    To me personally, my choice of computing platform is more important than Office, so I would get a Mac and either use Office 2004 or deal with any quirks in 2008. If, for whatever reason, I really, REALLY needed the Windows version of Office for my work/education, I would still get a Mac and run Office Win through either CrossOver or a virtual machine (or even dual booting into Windows when necessary), though in your case it might make more sense to just get a non-Apple machine. It mainly depends on how much you need the differing features, how much you will/won't benefit from the MacOS and/or Apple hardware, and just personal preference--personally I've been wronged specifically and severely enough by Microsoft that I refuse to give them my money, so a Windows-only laptop wouldn't even be an option.
     
  4. cmanco thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    #4
    External monitor


    So you are saying that if I am using a monitor as an extended monitor and all it has is one program showing up on it, when I close my laptop, my whole desktop will go to the external moitor?
     
  5. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #5
    That's basically what will happen--it will be treated the same as if you had "disconnected" the internal monitor, with all windows being repositioned to the remaining available screen. Similarly if you're using it without an external, put it to sleep, plug in the external and a mouse, and wake it, everything will show up on the external.

    Note, again, that you can't just close the laptop to do this--you'll need to have at least an external keyboard or mouse to wake it with, or it will just go to sleep and stay asleep.
     

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