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How to Connect a MacBook to a TV

If you want to connect a MacBook to a TV, you have several choices, depending on the connectors that are available on your TV. In most cases you will need a Mini DisplayPort adapter.

How to connect a macbook to a tv

PCs are fairly easy to connect with TVs, but connecting a MacBook to a TV is not quite as simple. However, connecting to a TV in general, and a high definition large screen TV in particular, can enhance gaming, movies, and even home videos or slideshows. Though Apple doesn’t make it easy for users to connect their devices to non-Apple TVs, it is still possible to connect the two using a variety of cables and adapters.

Ports and Cables

Apple is different from any other company out there, and their laptops further illustrate that point. Their MacBooks do not contain the same ports that most laptops and TVs, which can make it difficult to create a good connection. There are a large variety of adapters available that will convert Apple’s unique ports to a more common format, such as HDMI. These adapters can then be attached to a second cable, which will transmit audio and/or video from the MacBook to the Television.

Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter

Click on Image to find Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter on Amazon

The Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter transforms the Mini DisplayPort on MacBooks to VGA output. A male to male VGA cable can then be used to connect to a TV or anything else that accepts VGA input. The TV can be used in mirrored mode, as an extended desktop, or as the main workspace for the connected MacBook. Keep in mind that the adapter works best with analog monitors and may not work well with digital signals. In addition, before purchasing the adapter, check that the MacBook has a Mini DisplayPort and the TV has a VGA port.

Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter


Click on Image to find Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter on Amazon

The Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter works in a manner similar to the VGA adapter, but it converts the Mini DisplayPort to DVI-D instead of VGA. Since the adapter is for DVI-D, it will only support video, not audio. Bear in mind that DVI-I cables will not fit into a DVI-D port. At 60HZ, the adapter can support a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1200. This is not as good as the resolution offered by the new 1080p TVs, but it can still give a high definition picture. In addition, the adapter only works for digital input and is not compatible with analog.

Mini DisplayPort to HDMI with Audio and DVI


Click on Image to find Mini DisplayPort to HDMI with Audio Adapter on Amazon

Griffin’s Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter coverts the Mini DisplayPort on new MacBooks to either HDMI or DVI output. The adapter itself coverts the Mini DisplayPort to HDMI, but the package also includes a snap on HDMI to DVI-D converter. Since the snap on is intended for DVI-D it is not compatible with TVs that require DVI-I input. Once the adapter is plugged into the MacBook, an additional cable is needed to connect the adapter to the TV. The Griffin adapter supports digital signals with a resolution up to 1920 x 1200, and select HDMI audio passthrough.

MacBooks have sockets that are unique to Apple, but there are a number of adapters available that will convert the MacBook’s sockets to a more traditional format. Once the adapter is in place, a simple cable is all that’s needed to connect a MacBook to a TV.

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Published: Sunday, July 3rd, 2011 Last Modified: June 3, 2013

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