divergent media

How do I get a signal into my desktop?

If you’re using a desktop mac, rather than a laptop, you’ve got a variety of options. For the sake of this post, we’ll split the Mac desktop line into two camps – the Mac Pro, and everything else (the iMac, Mac Mini).

When working with a Mac Mini or an iMac, your options largely mirror those available to laptop users. For example, with a relatively modern iMac or Mac Mini, ThunderBolt is the best option available. ThunderBolt solutions are available from Blackmagic Design, AJA, Matrox,and MOTU. These will all work great with ScopeBox, so you can make a choice based on your budget and the types of inputs you need to monitor – from just HDMI, on up through 3G HD-SDI or analog.

For older Mac Minis and iMacs, you’ll need to use FireWire based capture solutions, like those from AJA, and MOTU. However, particularly in the case of the Mac Mini, you’ll likely find that a new Mac Mini with a ThunderBolt interface is less expensive than a FireWire capture device. ThunderBolt devices are capable of delivering higher quality as well.

If you’re a Mac Pro user, your best options come in the form of PCI-express cards, or external devices with PCI-e breakout cards. These are available from Blackmagic Design, AJA, and Matrox. Again, there’s a card for every budget, and every workflow. Any of the available options will work great with ScopeBox 3. When installing PCI-e cards, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations about slot placements.

The Mac Pro doesn’t currently have the capability to connect to ThunderBolt devices, but may in a future revision. At that point, the ThunderBolt devices mentioned above would provide the ultimate flexibility, working on everything from a Mac Mini or MacBook Air to the most highly-specced Mac Pro.