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Full Screen TV on Your Mac Most major TV networks such as ABC, NBC, and CBS post reruns of your favorite shows on their websites for free viewing. I’ve been happily enjoying these free shows for quite some time. Sadly, most of the sites don’t offer true full-screen viewing without the distraction of the website, browser windows, and other interface elements.

Thankfully, Mac OS X has a built-in cure via its Universal Access zooming feature. Here’s how to use it:

Setup

1. Go to the Apple Menu, and choose System Preferences.

2. Select Universal Access.

one

3. Under Zoom, select On. two

4. Quit System Preferences.

Usage

1. Visit your favorite network’s website, for example ABC, NBC, and [CBS].

2. Find your favorite show, and choose an episode to view.

3. Use the keyboard shortcuts Command + Option + Plus Sign (+) and Command + Option + Minus Sign (-) to zoom in and out.

4. Move the mouse around to position the screen.

5. Hit the Esc key to hide the mouse.

6. Sit back and enjoy.

Apple does a decent job of scaling via its Quartz technology. Of course, the quality won’t be as great as a show purchased from iTunes – but, hey, it’s free.

17 Comments

  • Christofer

    gravatarJun 10, 2007
    11:55 pm

    You can also hold down ctrl and use the scroll wheel/ball to zoom in/out (without activating the zoom feature in Universal Access).

  • Philip

    gravatarJun 11, 2007
    12:33 am

    I had assumed that Universal Access was a prerequisite for the mouse-zooming to work but you’re right it is not. Thanks

  • Timbo

    gravatarJun 11, 2007
    1:31 am

    Heroes. Now that has to be the only TV show worth watching. Not viewing such a show in full screen is surely a crime. Does a windows xp based laptop have the same function?

  • Jackson

    gravatarJun 11, 2007
    6:49 am

    HA HA HA HA HA!

    I thought I was the ONLY cheap bastard on the planet that had figured out that trick. I subscribe to a lot of content through iTunes (and download my fair share on other types of sites, for shows that aren’t available).. but when I want to test out a show, I’ll go to the network site and watch a show, but ZOOM in using Universal Access (by holding down Control and Scrolling with my MightyMouse). Apple really has thought of everything. That’s such a nice feature when you’re trying to adjust some tiny setting and you can’t quite read something from across the room.

    Since I watch all my TV on my Mac (23 inch LCD), I’ve learned to use the ZOOM feature when I’m lying in bed, and I can’t read something… I’ll use my bluetooth keyboard and mouse to ZOOM in and find the controls I need to do something. Then a month or two ago, I was watching a free version of the first episode of HBO’s new show, The Flight of the Condor (which is a good show, btw)… and I couldn’t stand the poor quality, or the aweful web controls, and ads and what-not… so I decided to ZOOM in, and WhaLa…. it looked OK. Now whenever I watch a webcast of something, I ZOOM in. Sometimes it fits perfectly, othertimes I have a background on the top or side (or both). The best thing to do in those situations is set your desktop background to black, and hide the dock (Apple-Option-D).

  • Michiel Ebberink

    gravatarJun 11, 2007
    6:59 am

    zooming with 2 displays is even cooler!

  • Raj

    gravatarJun 11, 2007
    7:24 am

    Thanks for the wonderful tip.

    Does the CTRL mouse-scroll tip work with any mouse on the Mac [with a scroll-wheel] or is it limited to the Mighty Mouse?

  • Jackson

    gravatarJun 11, 2007
    7:35 am

    I’m sure it works with ANY old scroll mouse that works on an Apple computer. I don’t have one to test, otherwise I’d tell you for sure. All my old PC mice have been loaned out to friends and family. I’m left with one wired and one wireless Might Mouse.

    If it doesn’t work, you can always use the keyboard shortcuts to do the same thing. In the Universal Access Pref Pane, it tells you how to enable/disable and zoom-in/zoom-out using your keyboard. (see the pics above)

  • Christofer

    gravatarJun 11, 2007
    7:35 am

    Ray,

    It works fine with any kind of USB input device that use the standard scroll feature. On MacBooks and MacBook Pros, hold down ctrl and drag up/down with two fingers on the trackpad to zoom in/out.

  • Christofer

    gravatarJun 11, 2007
    7:37 am

    Sorry for the misspelling of your name Raj!

  • Soham

    gravatarJun 11, 2007
    8:18 am

    works for windows too…

  • Raj

    gravatarJun 11, 2007
    4:35 pm

    Thanks Christofer.

    Yes, it works with my Intellimouse; just tried it.

    Great tip!

  • gobots

    gravatarJun 14, 2008
    6:53 pm

    my mac will not let me zoom back out if zoomed in at any level for too long. it pisses me off because then i have to restart the damn thing and zoom out right away bfor it does it again…oh well

  • Dawn

    gravatarMar 16, 2009
    4:48 pm

    I LOVE THIS!!! What useful information!! Many Many Thanks

  • oed

    gravatarMar 19, 2009
    1:03 pm

    I can’t figure out how to download it…???

  • Dawn G

    gravatarSep 23, 2009
    4:19 pm

    Yeah oed, I cannot figure out how to download a show to watch it later. Can someone please help me out? Layman’s terms please, I am very green!!!

    thanks dawn

  • nicky

    gravatarDec 27, 2009
    3:03 am

    does someone know how i could watch the series on abc… i live in Europe, and it only works if you live in the US.

  • hdtv projection television

    gravatarFeb 23, 2010
    6:12 am

    Its very cool to watch on laptops/pc’s especially today but it is much cool on tv..Try this hdtv projection television, one of the best selling today.