MacBook to HDMI

By M.A. Helt

Connecting your MacBook to an HDMI compatible television enhances your display options. You can now stream online shows from Netflix or iTunes, preview projects created in iMovie or iDVD or share your family vacation photos with an iPhoto slide show. MacBooks do not support HDMI signals straight out of the box, however a number of adapters are available to convert the signal.

What is HDMI?

High-Definition Multimedia Interface is a single cable that transmits high-definition video and high-resolution audio. This type of cable is used most often to connect DVR and high-definition cable boxes to HDTVs.

HDMI on Computers

The HDMI technology is not yet standard on computers. MacBooks rely on the Mini DisplayPort to export video signals, and most PCs use DVI to export video. Due to the popularity of HDMI-compatible TVs, adapters have been created to convert the DVI port and Mini DisplayPort to HDMI.

MacBook Compatability

To connect your MacBook to an HDMI device, you must have a newer generation MacBook. Beginning with the late 2009 edition, MacBooks included the HDMI-compatible Mini DisplayPort. Prior MacBook models included a Mini-DVI port which is not HDMI compatible. You can identify your port by looking at the side of your MacBook. The third port from the left is your video-out port. If the port is a perfect rectangle, then you have a Mini-DVI port. If your port has the bottom two corners cut off, then you have the Mini DisplayPort

Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Adapters

Apple does not make a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter but it recommends the adapters sold by Moshi and Griffin. These adapters plug into the Mini DisplayPort of your MacBook and allow you to connect an HDMI cable to the adapter. Many other manufacturers and websites including Amazon.com offer similar adapters to the ones recommended by Apple but at lower prices.

Audio Cables

Even though the traditional HDMI cables transfer audio and video signals between cable boxes and TVs, the HDMI cable will not cary computer sound. When you connect your MacBook to a TV or monitor using HDMI, the audio will still come from your MacBook. If you'd like to take advantage of the TV's speakers, you will need to use a 3.5 mm to 2-RCA audio cable. Plug the single port side of the cable into the earphone jack in your MacBook, and the red and white audio cable ends to the red and white jacks in your TV. You can purchase this cable directly from Apple or any retailer that sells audio equipment cables.