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July 20, 2016

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Cut the Cable: How To Use Your MacBook as a Media Center

Cut the Cable

Here’s a fun exercise: close your eyes and picture the worst customer service experience you’ve ever had. Chances are, sitting on hold for hours with a cable or satellite TV provider popped into most people’s minds—at least, if research by 24/7 Wall St. and Zogby Analytics is to be believed.

Each year, 24/7 Wall St. produces the Customer Service Hall of Shame, a bottom-of-the-barrel list of major companies ranked by the lack of quality in their customer care. The not-so-surprising common thread? Year after year, at least half of the top (or bottom?) 10 companies on the list are either cable or satellite TV providers.

This is likely one of the major factors driving the “cord-cutting” trend, where former cable customers rid themselves of the expensive amenity in favor of Internet streaming services. According to market research firm eMarketer, there are more than 4.9 million U.S. households that once paid for TV services but no longer do. The movement is only gaining steam, with eMarketer predicting that by 2018, one in five households will not subscribe to cable or satellite TV.

Poor customer service is hardly the only factor pushing customers to cut their cords—price and a desire for flexibility also influences people's decisions. But how do so many millions of Americans still enjoy TV programming without the hassle of subscribing to cable or satellite TV? We’ll show you how to set up the perfect cable- and satellite-free home media center, and all you’ll need to start is your trusty MacBook.

 

Design your Media Center

Turning your MacBook into the centerpiece of your home media center is quite simple. There are a number of ways to connect your laptop to your TV with a cable and an adapter, depending on the type of MacBook you own and the year it was made. For comprehensive instructions on how to set up your TV as a laptop display, check out Apple’s support page here. Henge Docks sells a number of cables and adapters that allow you to stream video from your MacBook onto your TV. You can find them all here.

 

External cables are easy and affordable, but utilizing a MacBook docking station is a better way to take your home media center to the next level. Docks enhance the power and connectivity of your laptop, all the while reducing cord clutter and creating a more stylish setup for your media center.  

The Vertical Dock from Henge Docks is the ideal tool for streaming video content from your MacBook to your TV, as it easily hides your laptop from view in a sleek silver shell. Together with a Henge Docks Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter, you can connect any Henge Dock docking station to an HDMI-equipped TV. Check out this post to learn how to!

 

Now you can stream online video through your MacBook onto your TV, more conveniently and at a lower cost than cable or satellite TV.

 

Find the Right Internet Streaming Services

Once all of your hardware is properly built and connected, there’s one more step on the road to enjoying quality programming without the likes of Comcast or DirecTV--choosing the right combination of online streaming services. Fortunately, there are plenty of cord-cutting services that can be mixed and matched together to enhance the offering of content, while still remaining more affordable than traditional TV services.

HBO Now, access the hottest HBO shows from Game of Thrones to Silicon Valley. Subscriptions to HBO Now are $14.99 a month and allow you to stream all HBO content on any of your devices.

Netflix, the venerable grandfather of online streaming, offers various packages ranging from $7.99 - $11.99 per month. Originally a DVD-by-mail rental service, Netflix now produces award-winning original series such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.

Hulu, which is owned by ABC, NBC and FOX, is the best place to go for new episodes of shows from these networks—the day after they air. The company’s also added movies and, more recently with the Golden Globe-nominated Casual, its own original content. Hulu goes for $7.99 per month, while the ad-free HuluPlus runs at $11.99 per month. Customers can also add on Showtime for a total of $20.98 per month.

Can’t wait until the next day for new episodes of your favorite shows? Try Sling TV, an online streaming service owned by Dish Network that gives you access to live programming on 20+ channels, such as AMC, Cartoon Network, CNN and others. Sling TV isn’t available on the Web, but offers apps for both Mac OS and Windows as well as a number of other devices, and costs only $20 per month.

Together with a custom-built media center stand and a first-rate Blu-ray player, you’re all set to impress guests or simply enjoy your favorite TV shows and movies without the hassle and cost of subscribing to cable or satellite TV.

 

July 20, 2016

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July 13, 2016

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How To: Utilize Dual Displays with your MacBook

Whether you’re a professional designer or simply looking to improve productivity while working, utilizing multiple displays is a great way to add needed screen space to your workstation—especially when making the switch from a desktop computer to a MacBook. Yet creating the ideal dual-monitor setup for your laptop can be a tricky task. Check out these essential tips for connecting your MacBook to dual displays.

 

First: Identify the type of monitor you will be using.

Apple Cinema and Apple Thunderbolt Display monitors are the easiest to connect, as MacBooks come build-in with ports that are compatible with any Apple monitor. All you’ll need to do is connect the Mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt cable attached to the display directly to your MacBook Pro.

 

If you have a monitor made by a company other than Apple, don’t worry! MacBooks do have the ability to connect to monitors that aren’t made by Apple—it just takes an additional step. You’ll need a cable adaptor that allows connection between the Mini DisplayPort/Thunderbolt ports on the MacBook and the connections on your monitor. You will need one cable or adapter per monitor.

  

Second: Determine if you need an adaptor to connect your display.

Non-Apple display connections can be HDMI, DVI, or VGA.

Many non-Apple monitors have HDMI connections, which you can plug directly into the HDMI port on your MacBook Pro.

If you would like to connect multiple displays, or if your monitor does not have an HDMI connection, you will need to purchase the correct adaptor to allow utilization of the Thunderbolt or MiniDisplay Port on your MacBook. You can purchase adaptors compatible with HDMI, DVI, and VGA.

We recommend purchasing these cables and adapters from the Apple store, but you can also purchase them from a third party location such as Henge Docks, Best Buy or Amazon.

  

Finally: Get connected.

Now that you’ve purchased adapters, you’re ready to plug everything in and get started. All you need to do is connect the cables to the corresponding ports on the MacBook and the monitor, and you’re ready to go!

Once you’ve completed all of the connections, you can now use your setup to its fullest potential. You may want to adjust the display configuration—here is a useful page from Apple support that will teach you how to do so. With a few taps of the keyboard or a click of the mouse, your setup will come to life and you can quickly get to work.

Bonus!

You can save yourself the time and hassle of constantly plugging and unplugging extra devices in and out of your MacBook by utilizing a docking station from Henge Docks. Docks streamline the process of going from desktop to mobile mode while adding connectivity and power to your laptop. You can find out which dock is compatible with your MacBook on our website here.



July 13, 2016

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April 08, 2016

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Meet the Henge Docks Customer Support Team

Ever wonder who the faces behind the emails are? Introducing... the Henge Docks Customer Support Team!

Sean and Antonio are the two who make the magic happen. Combined they have over 24 years of experience in the Customer Support field ranging from retail, hospitality, baking and even working on that Deadliest Catch boat!! Okay we made the last one up...

The two have worked together previously for 3 years, so they are well acquainted. Antonio is a techy nerd who knows various programming languages, understands hardware inside and out and has never seen a pizza he didn’t like. Sean brings concrete thinking and strategy to the team and once helped Michelle Pfeiffer spend over 3000 dollars at Hot Topic! (We don’t know how he did it, either. One of everything?) Sean also enjoys eating copious amounts of tacos and Antonio drinks so much coffee he swears he can see time.

Antonio’s favorite part about working at Henge Docks is that Costco is right across the street with on-the-go, delicious and steaming hot pizza at all hours of the work day. Sean’s favorite part is the bagels for breakfast! More importantly, they both love the open communication, intermingling between departments, and fast-paced environment at Henge Docks.

The duo’s favorite part about Customer Support is taking complex troubleshooting issues, simplifying them and making them easy for people to understand. They also love the feeling of a job well done!

If you have any questions or need troubleshooting help, submit a support ticket through our Support Portal and Sean or Antonio (our Support gurus) will be happy to help!

April 08, 2016

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March 30, 2016

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Things We Loved at SXSW!

At SXSW there was no shortage of innovative technology! Some of our favorites were the technologies around the Standing Desk. Below are the three we found most interesting!

UpLift Desk:

Uplift Desk sells both custom and pre designed stand up desks that allow you to stand or sit while getting your work done.

http://www.upliftdesk.com

 

Focal Upright:

Focal Upright focuses on both standup desks and leaning seats to go with them.  We also noticed that a Vertical Dock by Henge Docks looks great on the Focal Upright desks!

http://www.focaluprightfurniture.com

 

FluidStance:

FluidStance offers a platform that you balance on while working at your standing desk. This platform is called Level and allows you to be in motion constantly while at your stand up desk!

http://www.fluidstance.com

March 30, 2016

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March 02, 2016

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T-Minus 10 Days: SXSW 2016!

For the fifth straight year, Henge Docks will be attending SXSW! The festival will be running from March 11th through 15th with the SXSW Interactive show highlighting innovative new companies, products and more. If you are attending this year, come visit us on the first floor of the Interactive Hall in booth #335.

This year, Henge Docks is doing SXSW bigger and better with twice the floor space. All our products will be available for purchase at a special discounted rate for show attendees from our Gravitas to the newly released 13-inch Horizontal Dock. Get to the booth early in the show as we will have limited supply!

As a thank you for stopping by, we will be raffling off a Gravitas unit daily, then on the final day, a Gravitas unit plus a pair of A5 AudioEngine speakers.

We are looking forward to another awesome show and hope to see you there!

March 02, 2016

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February 19, 2016

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Sales for the 15-inch Horizontal Dock Exceeding Expectations! [Update: These Docks are Now in Stock and Shipping]

We are thrilled that the 15-inch Horizontal Dock has hit the market with incredible success! The sales of the 15-inch Horizontal Dock have far exceeded even our most optimistic projections.

As exciting as the response has been, several components in the Horizontal Dock have lead times that exceed the overwhelming demand for it which has led to a temporary stock out. The next shipment of 15-inch Horizontal Docks will be ready as early as April and ordering now will ensure that your dock ships as soon as it is back in stock.

For those of you with a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display, these Horizontal Docks have arrived in the USA and will begin shipping to customers next week! Orders placed from Europe or Canada will begin to ship in March.

We continue to be blown away by your enthusiasm for our products. The entire Henge Docks team thanks you for your support!

February 19, 2016

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February 12, 2016

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Accessories We Love

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Henge Docks is showing some love and appreciation to the accessories we can’t live without! Read on to find which accessories Henge Docks is loving this Valentine’s Day.


1. Speck iPhone Case:

Kristin, our Operations Manager, can’t live without her CandyShell Inked iPhone 6 Speck case! It fits perfectly with our case compatible iPhone 6 insert for the Gravitas dock.

 

 

 

 

2. Sennheiser HD 25-1 II:

At Henge Docks, music is a key part of our work day. Our Chief Financial Officer, Hayne, loves to get work done by blocking out the whirlwind of startup life using her Sennheiser HD 25-1 II headphones. Click here to see her favorite workflow playlist!

 

 

 

3. Audioengine Speakers:

During our office happy hours, holiday parties, or even as part of the daily grind, we love having our Audioengine Speakers around to set the vibe for the whole office.

 

 

 

 

4. Kensington Lock:

The perfect partner for our Horizontal Dock, the Kensington Lock allows you to lock your dock and MacBook to your desk for ultimate security.

 

 

 

 

5. 3Dconnexion SpacePilot Pro:

On any given day, you can find Brandon, our Lead Product Developer, sketching the next Henge Docks product on his SpacePilot Pro.

 

 

 

 

 

6. Square Reader:

With the SXSW Trade Show coming up in March, it is guaranteed you’ll find a square reader or two around the booth. It’s great for making quick transactions on the go!

 

 

 

 

7. Apple Watch:

The Apple Watch provides the ideal accomplice for our CEO, Matt, to keep track of messages, emails and meetings while he is working throughout the day. He also loves to use it to track his fitness and heart rate when on runs!

February 12, 2016

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January 19, 2016

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MacVoices Interviews Henge Docks CEO, Matthew Vroom

Chuck Joiner of the popular Apple-centric internet show MacVoices visited the Henge Docks booth at CES 2016 and interviewed our CEO, Matthew Vroom. In the interview, Matt shares his excitement about the Horizontal Dock, and goes in-depth on its features. Watch the video to learn more about the Horizontal Dock and Henge Docks' experience at CES!

January 19, 2016

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January 18, 2016

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Tech Toolbox Reviews the Clique!

Thanks to Matthew of the Tech Toolbox for his great review of the Clique! Check out his full review here.

January 18, 2016

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January 06, 2016

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Henge Docks Exhibits at International CES for the Fifth Time!

CES 2016

International CES 2016 is a go! The Henge Docks team is all together in Las Vegas and excited to be exhibiting at CES for the fifth consecutive year. Our California Redwood inspired booth is on the trade show floor for its sixth time, and is filled with the entire Henge Docks product lineup. This year, we are showcasing the Horizontal Dock - the booth has eight on display! Our product developers created a centerpiece display for the Horizontal Dock that is quite the attention getter.

We’ve already talked to many people, and are having fun meeting people - both those that are already Henge Docks fans and those that will be soon! A highlight has been meeting the original patenter of PC docking stations. Very cool! Our CEO and industrial designers were certainly happy to speak with him and nerd out on docking stations.

If you’ll be attending CES, be sure to stop by to interact with all of our products and visit with the Henge Docks team. We’re in the Las Vegas Convention Center, North Hall, iLounge Booth 5135. We look forward to seeing you!

January 06, 2016

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