How to turn your iMac into a TV

May 25, 2013

How to turn your iMac into a TVWhat used to be the centerpiece of the living room is quickly transforming into not only smaller, but also portable screens. The TV isn’t what it used to be and more people are turning to their Mac as the main platform for entertainment.

Did you know that you can actually watch live, over-the-air television on your iMac with the help of a USB tuner? In most markets, you can receive all the main networks — ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and PBS — over the air for free. Here’s my recommendation for making your iMac the ultimate TV.

Elgato’s EyeTV Hybrid USB stick can receive HDTV and analog TV signals. The adapter, which costs $150 from Elgato direct (it’s cheaper at Amazon) looks like a basic thumb drive, but has an adapter to plug in an adapter. That’s right — you need to get a little retro to receive that free TV programming.

Thankfully, there are plenty of attractive — and powerful — antennas to choose from. I recommend Mohu’s indoor HDTV leaf antenna for $40 (add $60 if you’re too far away from the broadcast transmitters for an extra boost), you can receive all the over-the-air channel in crystal-clear HD.

Wait, there’s more.

Elgato’s EyeTV actually comes with software that transforms your iMac into a DVR, allowing you to schedule and record content to your iMac’ hard drive.

You’re still not done. Over the air television is great, but needs to be supplemented with some over-the-top services like Hulu and Netflix. These services have their own online video player on their websites.

The only thing left for you to buy is a beautiful, brand new 27-inch iMac.

Cutting the cord is a trend that’s certainly catching on. In my day job, as the technology editor for, I’ve been writing about my cord-cutting adventure extensively. Read my latest column here.

Are you a cord cutter? Tell me about your experience below.

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