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bobtomay 07-21-2013 07:08 AM

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 PPC Macs, you can still have a read through the original thread - here.

For all troubleshooting issues,
more extensive research, or
connecting your Mac to something other than HDMI;
you should read through the first 4 posts in the original thread - here.

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.

bobtomay 07-21-2013 07:44 AM

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.)

bobtomay 07-21-2013 08:35 AM

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.


bobtomay 07-21-2013 10:01 AM

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. Take a look at the first 2 items of post # 4 here.

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

bobtomay 07-21-2013 10:54 AM

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.

bobtomay 07-21-2013 11:12 AM

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.

chscag 07-21-2013 11:34 AM

You need to make this excellent thread a Sticky Tom so it stays on top of the forum. ;)

bobtomay 07-21-2013 11:59 AM

Done - the other post is still available. This should make it much easier for most of our members and without the need for learning nor reading through a whole bunch of non-relevant stuff.

guitron 08-04-2013 03:51 PM

Connect mi mac to TV
Hi I have a Macbook 5,2 and I want to connect it to my Samsung Led-TV UN39EH5003. I have the Mini-DVI to HDMI adaptor and when I plug it my computer goes blue for like a second and it does recognize the TV and also the TV recognizes something plugged in the HDMI/DVI port, but I can't see anything on the screen, it just says "No Signal, check the cable connections and the settings of your source device".
What's wrong?

bobtomay 08-04-2013 07:51 PM

Follow the link provided in the first post above for troubleshooting and go to the 2nd post there.

guitron 08-04-2013 09:28 PM

I still can't connect my mac, I get the "no signal" text on the screen

bobtomay 08-05-2013 06:27 AM

If your MB is running off battery, plug it in to power.

Other than that, sorry, but I have no tricks up my sleeve that have not already been included in the troubleshooting steps in the link provided.

guitron 08-05-2013 09:33 AM

Well, thanks anyway

cocosknights 08-28-2013 06:29 AM


Originally Posted by guitron (Post 1530161)
I still can't connect my mac, I get the "no signal" text on the screen


I am having a similar issue.
I have the late 2011 MBP 2.4 - I checked the everymac site and believe my mac has the thunderbolt. I've just bought the cable to connect it to my HDMI port and also get the blue flicker and no image.

The TV recognises something is plugged in as it gives me an option to select the HDMI port (it has 4, one even says PC, and I've tried them all) that the cable is plugged into but then I get no signal.

My MB also seems to know it is connected to an LG TV but I haven't been able to find a setting that will allow extended or mirrored displays.

TV is 42LM6410-TBV.. it has a smart share thing so I assume that if my wifi / broadband was quick enough I could stream direct but country Aus isn't that lucky.


bobtomay 08-30-2013 07:12 PM


There is no magic bullet.

All I can recommend is plug it into one of the HDMI ports that you already know is working - don't care which one as long as it's on the back of the set (not on the side) - then pick up the remote and change the TV to that input whether it's # 1, # 2 or # 3.

From there, the only option is to work through the troubleshooting steps, one at a time - including using a different cable. Head for the 2nd post here.

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