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MacBook Laptop to TV Connection

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Apple Macbook Laptop to TV Connection

How to Hookup Apple Macbook to TV

How to connect your Apple MacBook Laptop to your HDTV

Many people today are watching Netflix and YouTube movies and videos on their laptops connected to their larger TV screens. You can connect your MacBook to your TV with a wired or a wireless connection. A wired connection uses a cable which is suited for your particular model of TV and Apple Macbook laptop. The current models of Macbook can use a straight HDMI to HDMI connection if you have a current HDTV and a compatible Macbook. You do not have to buy anything else. All you need is an HDMI cable for a wired connection. No additional adapter is necessary if you are connecting directly to the HDMI port on these specific models. These Macbook models released in 2012 and later already have a built in HDMI port. Just connect your Macbook and your HDMI cable with a digital TV.  If you cannot use HDMI, then you will use another cable connection.

Which Apple Macs can use HDMI?

These Macs include an HDMI port for connecting to HDTV's. 

  • Mac mini (Mid 2010) and later models
  • MacBook Pro with Retina display (Mid 2012) and later models
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013)

What if my Macbook does not have an HDMI port?

If your Apple laptop does not have an HDMI port, you can use the Mini Display port or other ports which your device may have such as a VGA port.

The following devices and versions are compatible and capable of sending both audio and video signals over the Mini Display Port:

MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2012 and later)*
MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Early 2013)
MacBook Pro (Retina, Mid 2012)*
Mac mini (Mid 2010 and later)*
Mac Pro (Mid 2010)
MacBook (Mid 2010 and later) MacBook Pro (Mid 2010 and later)
MacBook Air (Late 2010 and later)
iMac (Late 2009 and later) (source:

Any older models can send video only over the DisplayPort connection.

The best way to save money on a cable is to buy a HDMI/Mini Display cable on e-bay. You can get one of these cables for under $10 currently. This cable has HDMI plug on one end and a Mini Display plug on the other end. Just plug into TV and Macbook and then adjust settings on Macbook under system preferences.

(Note: Do you have a Macbook with Thunderbolt instead of a Mini DisplayPort? Don't worry, it makes no difference. Both interfaces are 100% compatible and you can use the same Mini DisplayPort adapter for a Thunderbolt connection as well).

The following Mac/Apple computers support audio pass-through via Mini DisplayPort.

MacBook 13" Model 7,1 (Mid 2010)
MacBook Pro 13" Model 7,1 (Mid 2010)
MacBook Pro 15" Model 6,2 (Mid 2010)
MacBook Pro 17" Model 6,1 (Mid 2010)
MacBook Pro 13" Model 8,1 (Early 2011 / Thunderbolt)
MacBook Pro 15" Model 8,2 (Early 2011 / Thunderbolt)
MacBook Pro 17" Model 8,3 (Early 2011 / Thunderbolt)
MacBook Air 11" Model 3,1 (Late 2010)
MacBook Air 13" Model 3,2 (Late 2010)

Mac mini Model 4,1 (Mid 2010)
iMac 27" Model 10,1 (Late 2009)
iMac 27" Model 11,1 (Late 2009)
iMac 21.5" Model 11,2 (Mid 2010)
iMac 27" Model 11,3 (Mid 2010)
Mac Pro Model 5,1 (Mid 2010)

Make direct Thunderbolt/ Mini DisplayPort to HDMI connections without using an additional HDMI cable. The MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air each have a Thunderbolt/ Mini DisplayPort that allows you to connect an external display or projector using an adapter. You can use an external display as your main workspace or to extend your desktop, or you can work in mirrored mode.

Go into “System Preferences” > “Display“. You’ll be able to see 2 display preferences dialog, one for your prime MacBook display and one for the external monitor.
You can use the settings in dialogs to adjust the screen resolution, color intensity and if you have a monitor that can be swiveled (rotated) you can tell Mac OSX to rotate the display to a certain angle for that particular display.

How to set mirror function so your Macbook and TV display the same video

With your TV connected to Mac, open System Preference. Then select Display. Then select arrangement tag. Check mirror display.

Compatible with all Macs/MacBooks with Mini DisplayPort / Thunderbolt Compliant with Mini DisplayPort 1.1a, HDMI 1.3b; Support resolutions up to 1080p (FullHD) Support audio: DTS/DTS-HD, Dolby Digital / Dolby TrueHD, and Linear PCM (LPCM); Progressive: 1920 x 1200, 1080p, 720p, 576p, 480p Interlaced: 1080i, 576i, 480i1.2A

Enable Audio-Output Over HDMI

on Your Mac, Open System Preferences
Go to Sound Settings
Switch to the tab “Output”
select device

My HDMI cable is connected but there is no audio.

In System Preferences, select Sound. Click the Output tab and then select your HDMI device from the list.

If you have trouble with your TV recognizing the Macbook

My Mac does not recognize my HDTV using the HDMI connection

Leave your Mac turned on while you power off the HDTV.  Unplug the HDMI cable from the Mac and plug it in again.  Power on the HDTV.

go to Preferences --> Displays and click on "Detect Displays." Choose the "mirroring" option and your computer screen should now be displayed on your TV.

Try switching through the different HDMI input channels of your TV. Most TVs should automatically detect the Macbook video connections, but some models will require you to select the video input manually. Try another HDMI input on your TV.

How to connect a Macbook to an old TV

If you have only an older analog TV, you will have to use either VGA or DVI or buy adapters/converters for RCA input TV sets. You can use a Mini DisplayPort-to-DVI adapter if your television has this port or Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter cable and a converter if your older TV only has RCA inputs.

Connect your 3.5-mm cable from the MacBook audio output port to the television's input port to receive the audio signal. There are converters which input VGA and output RCA composite video (yellow). If your television does not have a 3.5-mm audio input, purchase a 3.5-mm-to-composite audio (RCA white and red) adapter cable to hook to your composite audio input jacks on your television.

If your TV has VGA input, use a VGA cable to connect TV with Macbook laptop. This is for video only. For audio, connect audio cable to TV audio input from Macbook audio output port.

DIAGRAM for Macbook Connection to Old Analog TV set

Hookup diagram Macbook to Old TV
Select correct input on TV for Macbook video
Q: Can I use a HDMI input to RCA output converter for Apple TV to an older TV?
A: Yes. Plug HDMI cable into Apple TV and into converter, then RCA cable from converter into TV video input.

Wireless MacBook to TV using Apple TV

You can connect your MacBook Pro to your TV using an Apple TV streaming device if your MacBook was made in 2011 or later. The following Mac models support AirPlay Mirroring when using OS X Mountain Lion or later:
  • iMac (Mid 2011 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Mid 2011 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Mid 2011 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Early 2011 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013 or newer)

Connect your Apple TV box to your HDTV using cables (HDMI) and connect your MacBook laptop directly to the Apple TV using an Ethernet (CAT 5 or CAT 6) cable or wirelessly over a Wi-Fi connection (same network). When a MacBook shares a network with an Apple TV, it automatically initializes an AirPlay Mirroring option in the menu bar that you can select to display your picture. You can also go to "System Preferences" and click "Displays." If these options are not available, your MacBook does not support this option.

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