Using an Xbox or PS3 With a Cinema Display

XBox 360 on an Apple Cinema DisplayAs an avid Apple fan, I use a MacBook as my primary machine along with a Cinema Display to provide some extra screen estate. When choosing to buy the display, I never really considered the possibility that I would need to plug any device into it other than my laptop so didn’t opt for one with different ports and connections. This came back to bite me recently when I purchased an Xbox 360 and discovered that, even with an appropriate HDMI to DVI adaptor, it isn’t possible to connect a games console directly to an Apple display.

It is, however, possible to connect a gaming console by way of an EyeTV Hybrid, which has the necessary S-Video or Composite inputs. HD gameplay isn’t possible at this time, but there could well be products in the future which accept HDMI or Component inputs. This guide gives you an overview of this process and should get you up and running with your Xbox (or any other recent games console).

Getting the hardware together

There are a few different cables and gadgets required, some of which you might already have, some of which you’ll need to fork out for.

Setting up EyeTV Hybrid

EyeTV Xbox SetupThe first step is to install the software which comes bundled with the EyeTV. Once this is all set up, simply connect the cables together.

  • The EyeTV plugs into your Mac’s USB port
  • The breakout cable plugs into the side of your EyeTV Hybrid
  • The S-Video cable runs into that breakout cable, from your Xbox 360
  • The Composite audio adaptor goes from your Xbox into the Line-In port on your Mac

All done? It’s time to start configuring some software. Turn on your Xbox and open up the EyeTV software.

The Software Side of Things

From the ‘Controls’ menu bar, select ‘S-Video Input’ to point the EyeTV to your Xbox. If all has gone to plan, you should see the dashboard screen appear. Everything should be functioning correctly, and the video should feel fairly snappy. Don’t fire up a game just yet though, there are a couple more things to set up.

The next step is to go into EyeTV preferences and ensure that your ‘Display’ settings match those shown on the following screenshot. This will help to sure a smooth picture and the correct type of scan.

EyeTV Software Settings

The final hurdle you’ll currently be facing is a lack of any sound coming into your Mac. OS X doesn’t pass audio through by default (any audio coming into your line-in won’t automatically be broadcast to your speakers or headphones). This requires a free utility called LineIn. It will take the audio from your Xbox and ensure you can hear it loud and clear. The settings should be as follows:

LineIn Software


Once you’ve done the above, you’ll hopefully have a very playable setup. There are a couple of problems you may encounter on the way, which this section should be useful for.

Recording doesn’t work – it’s really laggy – The built in recording function in EyeTV unfortunately can’t keep up with the Xbox input. The only way to achieve this is to use a piece of screen casting software such as iShowU. After tweaking with various settings it can perform fairly well.

My favorite game doesn’t work – Some games published on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii might not work on the Hybrid (for reasons unbeknown to me, but stated by Elgato). All the recent games I have tried worked correctly.

Is my console supported? – Almost certainly. The list provided by Elgato covers the Dreamcast, Gamecube, N64, Playstation 1/2/3, Saturn, Wii and Xbox/Xbox360.