Skip to content
Thoughtful, detailed coverage of everything Apple for 34 years
and the TidBITS Content Network for Apple professionals

Video Without Holes

Director of Technical Services, Baka Industries Inc.

By early 1992, there were multiple video output options for the suddenly popular PowerBooks. Companies like Envisio took advantage of this or that internal connection to provide external video support to connect a monitor or LCD projection panel to the PowerBooks. Today, most of Apple’s current PowerBooks support video output, but for those that don’t, as well as for a variety of other video-less Macs, a company called PowerR has a solution.

Ranging from $129 to $299 retail, PowerR’s products provide video output for Macintosh models such as the Color Classic and LC or Performa 575, or old all-in-one Macs like the Plus, SE, and SE/30, and of course those first-generation 140, 145, and 170 model PowerBooks, without the need for cutting out strips of plastic or soldering connections.

PowerR’s Presenter and other video adapter devices connect to the Macs’ internal video connectors, and take advantage of existing holes or slots in the outer case to bring a VGA-compatible video port out where it can do good. The connector for the PowerBook 140, 145, and 170 models, for example, piggy-backs on the internal port that connects the top and bottom halves of the PowerBook and carries the video signal. The signal is split and send out through the connector, which is wedged through the case’s existing opening. Such an approach leaves the PowerBook’s internal slot free (the Envisio adapters used the memory slot) and avoids software conflict issues entirely. With a suggested retail price of $299, these are the most expensive of PowerR’s video adapters, but early-model PowerBook owners at least have a video option again.

The Color Classic and LC 575 cases are even easier; they sport those traditional vertical air slots Apple is so fond of designing into its plastic cases. The leads for these video adapters go right through these slots. PowerR’s adapter is correspondingly simpler, and sells for only $129 for these machines.

Since the vast majority of LCD projection panels (I’m tempted to say "all") have a VGA video port, the compact PowerBook unit from PowerR saves room by offering only a VGA connector. Most of the other PowerR models have both VGA and standard Apple DB-15 connectors. All look well-assembled and solid.

Among their other products, PowerR offers an adapter to LCD panels for Macs that already have DB-15 video output; for computers with NTSC output such as Atari, Commodore, and Apple II systems; and for low-end IBM systems.

PowerR’s products are not engineering miracles or stunning innovations. It’s all been done before. But PowerR has the innovative nerve to provide stunning support for old computers no one else will touch.

PowerR — 800/729-6970 — 206/547-8000 — 206/285-0260 (fax)

Subscribe today so you don’t miss any TidBITS articles!

Every week you’ll get tech tips, in-depth reviews, and insightful news analysis for discerning Apple users. For over 33 years, we’ve published professional, member-supported tech journalism that makes you smarter.

Registration confirmation will be emailed to you.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA. The Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.