Resolved Use MacBook Pro 2011 as monitor - solution - FAILURE

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by BoboTheTwit, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. BoboTheTwit, Nov 13, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2011

    BoboTheTwit macrumors newbie

    Nov 13, 2011
    Here's my situation in a nutshell.
    I've got a 2011 13" MBP and an XBox and a PS3. My parents don't want me having a gaming console in my room, but they're okay with the laptop. Since I have both consoles, I plan on keeping one in my room, but I only have one monitor (I play consoles on my 24" monitor). I'd leave the monitor where it is, and hook up my PS3 to my HDMI->mini display port and use my MBP as the monitor.

    I know this sounds crazy, and its an output only port, but I think there's an easy enough workaround. Unfortunately, I'm 14 and don't have the programming skills.

    Since Thunderbolt is hooked up directly to the core of the system, and doesn't have to run through an operating system and drivers to function, I think it could be used as a display input port. Using a HDMI -> mDP adapter, I could use the thunderbolt port as a HDMI input for my PS3.
    Since this would be extremely difficult to incorporate into a Mac App (I think...), it would make more sense to write a Linux build specifically for 720p thunderbolt input.
    I know Linux is used in TV's, so I see no reason why it wouldn't agree with HDCP.

    What I'm hoping for is for somebody superior to me to come up with a dead simple Linux build dedicated to video input. Sound isn't necessary, a GUI isn't necessary, even a command line isn't necessary. Set the only resolution to 1280x720 (720p), and have the display input send the picture to the MacBook's monitor.

    Googling "use macbook as monitor" brings on a boatload of "not possible" answers, and I just came up with this idea. I'm really hoping it would work, because it would be pretty awesome.

    If you have anything to say about this, positive, negative, and whatever else, post a reply or email me at

  2. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    The port is output only, and is not wired in any way shape or form to the display. It just can't work. Sorry.
  3. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    MBP won't have proper circuitry to pull this one off. Sorry.
  4. IllIllIll macrumors 65816

    Oct 2, 2011
    If the Thunderbolt port is output only, does that mean you can only write to TB connected hard drives? I thought TB was 10Gbps bidirectional, full duplex?

    Either way, it's not possible to do what the OP is asking for. Besides the technical problems, HDCP would also be an issue.
  5. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    The video portion of the port is output only.
  6. IllIllIll macrumors 65816

    Oct 2, 2011
    At present the only way you're going to get video input to the MBP screen is through the FireWire or USB ports, and not via HDMI. You can use something like a component video to FireWire converter, but it will cost $$$. Regardless, there is no simple software solution. It's going to require external hardware.

    An even better question to ask is: if you're only 14 and your parents don't want you gaming in your room, why are you trying to circumvent their wishes?
  7. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Agreed! Exactly my thoughts. Isn't playing a game console in your room, whether thru your laptop or thru a tv the same thing.? You still are playing video games in your room which is what they don't want. Even if possible (which it is not), as soon as they caught you, you would lose both your laptop and gaming console.
  8. BoboTheTwit thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 13, 2011
    Thanks snaky69, Eddyisgreat, IllIllIll, and old-wiz. I was hoping the same principals of data in/out as video in this situation. Too bad.

    Yeah, you two are right. I would end up only doing this for if I went to a friends house, etc. but the thought came to me when I was longing for MW3 in my room. I included that information to clarify the situation I was talking about, as I know I get confusing and start rambling whenever I post things.
    And even if I did, it's not the act of gaming they disapprove of, it's the sitting in front of a screen all day (which I don't do. They just think I do because when they were kids trees weren't invented. [EXAGGERATION]). It's part of my nature to circumvent rules I disagree with.

    This is a Mac forum, not a parenting lesson!

    Thanks for all the quick replies, this was much more than I was expecting!

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