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Adapter/Cables for connecting Mac to TV via HDMI

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  • Adapter/Cables for connecting Mac to TV via HDMI

    Since this is the primary question today and after a quarter million views, decided it was time for a new & easier thread.

    This will be just a down and dirty:
    "You want the audio and video on your TV, you have 'x' Mac, then you need 'y' cable(s)".
    For those that don't care about the why and just want to know what to buy.

    Specific adapter/cable types are provided for all notebook Intel Macs (beginning in 2006 thru 2013).

    For all troubleshooting issues,
    more extensive research, or
    connecting your Mac to something other than HDMI;

    Find your Mac in one of the lists below and read through that particular post.
    Don't know what Mac you have:
    Click on the Apple - left side of the menu bar - About this Mac
    Or head to to find your specific model.

    Once you've found your Mac in the lists and know what cable(s) you need, go on down and also read post # 6.

    Note: Post originally written by bobtomay
    Last edited by pigoo3; 01-09-2018, 09:15 PM.

  • #2
    One of the following or newer:

    MacBook 7,1 - mid 2010
    MacBook Pro 6,1 - mid 2010
    MacBook Air 4,1 - mid 2011
    iMac 10,1 - late 2009

    Your computer has a mini displayport (mdp) which carries both video and audio - you will need a mdp to HDMI cable like this - link.

    (Yes, those of you with a Thunderbolt port - for purposes of connecting to your TV, it is the same as a mdp.)

    Note: Post originally written by bobtomay


    • #3
      MacBook, all 5,x and 6,x models - late 2008 and mid 2009
      MacBook Pro, all 5,x models - late 2008 and mid 2009
      iMac 9,1 - early and mid 2009

      Your Mac has a mini displayport that does not carry audio along with the video.

      You will need an adapter that will combine the audio and video together like this or this.

      If you are listening to the speakers in your TV, just get the cheaper USB adapter as there is no point passing more than 2 channel audio to your TV.
      If you are passing the audio from your TV to a 5.1 surround system, then you will want the optical adapter which can pass through 5.1 audio from your sources which have 5.1.

      MacBook Air 2,1 and 3,1 - late 2008, mid 2009 and late 2010

      You must use the USB adapter in the first link above as the MBA audio port is analog only.

      All of you will need to also purchase a "high speed" HDMI cable. It does not need to be expensive, but once again, don't recommend the cheapest you can find. Cables from monoprice or even the Amazon Basics cables will do. Whatever cable you buy, make sure it is labeled as "High Speed" HDMI. If it doesn't say 'high speed', don't buy it.


      And I know there are going to be some reading from other parts of the world that possibly cannot buy from monoprice and/or the cheap skates here in the U.S. that are going to ask if there isn't anything cheaper than $25-$30. You will need to read 'The Hard Way' in the post below to figure out your other options.

      Note: Post originally written by bobtomay


      • #4
        MacBook 1,x - 2,x - 3,x - 4,x
        iMac 4,x - 5,x - 6,x - 7,x - 8,x

        You have a mini-DVI video port - it does not carry the audio.


        The Easy Way - Your TV has a VGA port (aka RGB, minisub 15, mini 15, DB15, HD-15, etc.)

        You're going to need:
        1 - a mini-DVI to VGA adapter - link
        2 - a VGA cable
        3 - a 3.5mm stereo mini-plug to RCA plug audio cable - link


        The Hard Way - you want to use HDMI or your TV does not have a VGA port.

        First - you will need to find out if there is a way to get audio on your TV using a HDMI port. The TV must support using a separate audio port in conjunction with at least one of it's HDMI ports. Most TVs that do, only one (1) of it's HDMI ports will work this way. Many TVs do not have this capability - including many of the brand new cheapo brands of TVs.

        Easiest - look at the back of your TV - do you see a port labeled as "HDMI/DVI" and another port labeled as "DVI audio"? You can go on down to the cables you need below.

        Not as easy - open up your TVs Owner's Manual - don't have it, then you need to figure out specifically what model TV you have, head to the manufacturer's web site and download a copy of it. Once you have the owner's manual, you're going to be looking through the Connections section. If your TV supports audio with HDMI, it will have a diagram showing a DVI to HDMI connection and an audio connection for DVI.

        "If" your TV does have a HDMI port that can use a separate audio input, you will need:

        For video -
        1 - mini-DVI to HDMI adapter - link
        2 - a "high speed" HDMI cable

        For audio - you need to figure out what type of audio port the DVI audio input is on your TV.

        Option A - If your TV has the red & white RCA plugs, you need a 3.5mm stereo mini-plug to RCA plug cable - link
        Option B - If your TV has a 3.5 mm plug, you need a stereo 3.5mm mini-plug cable - link

        "If" your TV does not have a HDMI port that can use a separate audio input, you will need:

        Your only option is a bad option - it is never good to use multiple adapters & cables, but you have no other option with the combination of your TV and your older computer. When you have a problem - troubleshooting becomes next to impossible because of the multiple number of cables in the chain.

        1 - mini-DVI to DVI adapter - link
        2 - 3.5mm stereo mini-plug to RCA cable - link
        3 - DVI & RCA audio to HDMI adapter - you'll need another electrical outlet for this one - link
        4 - a high speed HDMI cable

        Note: Post originally written by bobtomay
        Last edited by pigoo3; 01-09-2018, 09:16 PM.


        • #5
          MacBook Pro 1,x - 2,x - 3,x - 4,x

          Your Mac has a DVI video port - it does not carry the audio.

          Please read all of the above post # 4. Yours is the same, except you will substitute:

          Easy Way - get a DVI to VGA adapter - link - instead of the mini-DVI to VGA adapter
          Hard Way - get a DVI to HDMI cable - link - which replaces both the mini-DVI to HDMI adapter and the HDMI cable listed above

          You will still need to figure out which type of audio port your TV uses and get the appropriate audio cable.

          Note: Post originally written by bobtomay


          • #6
            Most all of the cables I've shown can be found in varying lengths from monoprice, Amazon, newegg, etc... and you should be able to find many of them at your local big box store.

            You do not need to spend big money on a cable, someone has a cable they want $50 or more - tell them thanks, but you're no fool - but, would recommend you not buy any el cheapo $2-4 cable off ebay (or amazon either). Decent cables are cheap enough. Also, don't buy a separate adapter and a HDMI cable unless I have specifically noted to do so for your Mac - you're just introducing another failure point when there is no reason to.

            For those using mdp to HDMI, I recommend you buy 2 - so that you have one for troubleshooting and as a spare - the mdp to HDMI cables in particular (and the adapters) seem to have a life span related to how often they're being plugged in and unplugged - seen it too often with both cheap and expensive ones - so save yourself the hassle later and spend the extra $10 or whatever now and keep the extra with the rest of your misc cables.

            Note: Post originally written by bobtomay