Have you ever wished you could project whatever you did or watched on your MacBook to your TV? I know I have and now it’s possible with a device called McTiVia. While there have been various ways to do this in the past, now I can just boot up the mac, start the McTiVia app, change one video setting on the TV using my remote and voila! I am surfing, watching video, checking email, and even writing this review with my TV as a second monitor – only much bigger.
So think about that… anything you see on your laptop is projected on the TV. Family movies and photos, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube – all of that can be shared with the whole family or friends. Simply and wirelessly. And you can connect up to 8 Macs although I’ve never, ever had 8 Macs at the same time.
But there’s a catch – isn’t there always a catch? For one, when my MacBook Pro is streaming to the TV wirelessly, it runs hot. Very hot. I have to prop it up in my lap to avoid burning my legs. Oh, and it’s a battery killer. After 30 minutes, my battery was down to 67%. Ouch. This is a new MacBook with the all the latest stuff, not some outdated G4 model. Which brings up another quibble. The McTiVia does not like older macs. My son had an older MacBook and it was not easy to set up. Heck, come to think of it, this MacBook wasn’t much easier to set up either. After many failures, I had to use McTiVia’s tech support to literally walk me through the process on the phone. It turns out I had missed a couple of steps not clearly explained on their web site. Maybe a techie geek could have figured it out, but McTiVia is supposedly designed for normal people who just want an extension to their laptop.
Build quality is solid. All the ports and connections on the McTiVia are tight and secure. It looks and feels like it will last a long time. It works on both Mac and Windows. McTiVia does not yet work with the iPad. I am told that Apple is the cause and that the people at McTiVia are working on getting approval.
When I contacted tech support, the person at McTiVia could not have been nicer or more helpful. He was amazing. If every other tech company did customer service like McTiVia, there would be no more jokes about them. He patiently guided me through the steps and after downloading the latest update to the software, I was up and running.
Viewing apps and other static stuff is a breeze – like writing this review. The resolution is good – not great, but at a normal TV viewing distance, it looks quite nice. After all, TVs are not computer monitors. There is a slight delay between the laptop and the TV, but it is no big deal. Also, the video on your monitor changes size when McTiVia is turned on, but returns to normal when switched off. Videos look good, however the delay becomes more pronounced. How long the delay is depends on the WiFi signal strength. My WiFi was just in the next room in line of sight and the video delay was about 1-2 seconds.
While trying YouTube video I discovered that it does not like the 480 (or higher) setting. The video gets very jumpy and there are audio syncing issues. At 320 or less, all is fine if you can put up with the lower video quality. On a HDTV, the lowered quality was very noticeable.
Keep in mind, everything I am doing is wireless. The McTiVia allows for a wired ethernet connection to your router which DOES equal better video and speed. However, my router is in the other room and well, that kind of defeats the whole purpose of a device like McTiVia. Also, who wants wires stretching from the TV to the couch or from the couch to another room? If you have to do that, why not just make a direct connection and save money?
If you can wire your mac via ethernet to your router without creating a tripping hazard, then you can put the MacBook back in its place and use a wireless keyboard and mouse to do whatever it is you do on your laptop. Video, apps, surfing, all of that can be done without even going to the MacBook. McTiVia comes with five different plug adapters for international accessibility.
The McTiVia will not replace hard wiring if you want an optimal viewing experience. But as a wireless solution, it’s not bad and it gives you much more freedom and flexibility than the AppleTV. Remember, anything you can do on your MacBook, McTiVia can show it to you on your TV.
Hey, if you lie awake nights jonesing to put OS X on that enormous flat screen tax-refund toy of yours and have $200 left over, then McTiVia could make you smile.