I don't gush about it very often, but I love my 12" Powerbook. Since I got it this past March, it has been my primary machine for both work and home. And other than wishing that there was a 1GB memory module out for it and grumbling that I've lost one of the rubber footies on the bottom, I've been extremely happy with it.

And just last night, I was reminded of yet another feature that's made me glad I got it: the included Composite/SVHS video adapter. I'd had the AV cable for my iBook before it, but the use of the adapter on the Powerbook has a very important difference: dual display mode.

See, when I connected my iBook up to my home entertainment complex, I got reduced resolution back on the LCD, and anything I did that went full screen (ie. playing a DVD or a movie file) took over the machine. But with the Powerbook, its connection to my television is just a second desktop, not much different than the second monitor I use at work.

So, while I'm at home on the futon with my girlfriend, I often stream videos off a PC in the next room that's been recording TV shows for me, and present them on this second desktop. Most apps I use to view movies, such as Quicktime Pro and VideoLAN, allow me to pick a monitor for fullscreen mode. Meanwhile, the LCD on the Powerbook is still available for other work while we watch.

It's just a little thing, but it's a thing that lets me get much of the benefit of a dedicated Home Theater PC without having to buy or build a box that looks nice alongside all our video game consoles. While I'd still like to take on the project someday, my Powerbook does just fine for the display and audio end of things, while an aging Windows PC in the next room snags a few TV shows for me.

Of course, if all you want is an HTPC, the Powerbook is expensive overkill. But, if you're shopping for a laptop and want some fringe benefits, I think this is definitely one that doesn't get much attention.


Archived Comments

  • have you had any issues whatsoever with the closing of your powerbook? after a week mine refused to latch shut, it no longer seemed magnetic. when i sent it back to apple they returned it in the same shape and said "push harder." i've talked to one other person with this problem, and i just wondered if it was widespread. other than that i'm having a ball authoring DVDs, and it's going to be great keeping my lap nice and warm during the cold michigan winters.