Using a PowerBook as an extra display...
December 2, 2006 2:43 PM   Subscribe

Is it possible for me to use my PowerBook G4 as a display -- meaning, can I connect some input source and view it just like I would an external LCD?

I'm not planning on upgrading my computer until the summer of next year, but I wanted to see if I could use my old PowerBook G4 just like an external monitor. The mac comes with a port and an adapter so that a VGA cable can be connected, but I wasn't sure if it's possible to display input on the PowerBook's display. Does anyone know anything about this?
posted by Aanidaani to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's certainly not possible do use the VGA port as an input. You can buy various video capture products to use it to view video signals. What are you thinking of hooking it up to?

You might want to look at ScreenRecycler, which allows it to act as a second display for another Mac, over a network.
posted by cillit bang at 2:59 PM on December 2, 2006

Another solution would be synergy, which lets you control both computers with a single keyboard and mouse, and acts like a pseudo dual monitor setup. (ie, you can mouse off one monitor onto another).

Its cross platform so you can do linux< ->mac< ->pc.
posted by mphuie at 3:06 PM on December 2, 2006

Synergy synergy is more of a KVM replacement in that you can't drag windows from one screen to the next. It's still pretty useful in that it's cross platform compatible and lets you cut and paste across platforms, so it might be what you want. It's useful in that you can offload some of your processes from one computer to the other but they are still two separate computers and so you can't drag a file from one to the other without an intermediary (such as a networked drive).

Maxivista takes it a step further by allowing you to drag windows from one screen to the next (it basicially treats the other computer as a videocard over LAN instead of PCI/AGP/PCIe) but it's Windows only and in all my digging around I havn't been able to find a Mac equivalent. The main advantage here is that you take over the screen of the other computer without splitting work between the two of them, so your files are all concentrated on one computer and it really just feels like you have a 2nd screen attached to your main computer.
posted by furtive at 9:29 PM on December 2, 2006

in all my digging around I havn't been able to find a Mac equivalent

See above.
posted by cillit bang at 10:15 PM on December 2, 2006

Do you want to display on the Powerbook as a second monitor, or just a mirror of the other computer on the powerbook screen?

If it's the latter, you might want to look into using a VNC client on the Powerbook to connect to a VNC server on the other machine. TightVNC is a popular VNC client/server for Windows and for the Mac, you can use the built in VNC server (I have no idea how to enable this tho, since I've never used it) combined with "Chicken of the VNC" as the client.

Is this what you're after tho?
posted by ranglin at 12:19 AM on December 3, 2006

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