Connect Intel Macbook to basic TV?
March 5, 2009 7:24 PM   Subscribe

Even after reading these forums, I still can't get my head around exactly what I need to connect my Macbook to my basic, non-HD TV. What I would love is if someone could give me specific product ID numbers from Monoprice for each cable/adapter that I need. Here are photos of my Macbook and the back of my basic, 5-year old Toshiba TV. Thanks so much!
posted by AONeal79 to Computers & Internet (19 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I have no idea if monoprice has it, but this is the part you need.
posted by kickingtheground at 7:38 PM on March 5, 2009

For Audio

For Video

Going to need one of these though.
posted by fellion at 7:38 PM on March 5, 2009

You need a specific dongle which is this one. Then you need to connect that to the TV. I can't recall if there is one cable that will do this or if you need two. You can get this cable (smalldog also has a longer one) and connect it to the heaphone jack of your laptop and the into the audio part (i.e. red and white cables under the yellow one) on the back of your TV. Then you just need a video cable like this one to connect the yellow video port from the back of the TV to the dongle.

Plug it all in, go to your system preferences and go to Displays and click the "detect displays" button and you should see your laptop on the TV assuming it's set to the proper channel or video input.
posted by jessamyn at 7:39 PM on March 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Fellion's got it. I've done this with the exact same equipment.
posted by jacob at 7:40 PM on March 5, 2009

Response by poster: So it looks like those two answers agree with each other with the exception of the video cable. I'm guessing I need the male connectors, not the female... is that correct?
posted by AONeal79 at 7:56 PM on March 5, 2009

Pretty sure with that dongle you can do the S-video cable (the round one with a lot of pins) or the RCA cable (the yellow one). I've only done the RCA cable but either shoudl work. The dongle that you plug into your Mac has ways to plug either into it.
posted by jessamyn at 8:08 PM on March 5, 2009

What jessamyn says is correct (speaking as an owner of said dongle).
posted by pompomtom at 8:14 PM on March 5, 2009

(and, seeing the TV back, you should get an S-Video cable and use that connection)
posted by pompomtom at 8:14 PM on March 5, 2009

S-Video cable. Composite cable. Using an S-Video connection should give you a slightly better image quality. Blue Jeans makes quality cable that meets all the specs. Here (Ottawa, Canada) you can get cheap and nasty S-Video and Composite cable that will most likely work at the dollar store (for $2).
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 8:22 PM on March 5, 2009

Sorry if this throws you off, but I would go for the highest quality picture, and that requires using the component input on your TV (the vertical row of red, green blue RCA inputs).

Your cabling would look like this:

MicroDVI-DVI dongle -> DVI/VGA adapter -> VGA-Component cable

Your Macbook may have come with the DVI/VGA adapter, or possibly a MicroDVI-VGA dongle.

VGA to component cable (Monoprice)
DVI to VGA adapter (Monoprice)
posted by wongcorgi at 9:19 PM on March 5, 2009

Response by poster: I think what's been confusing me all along is not realizing, as you guys are pointing out, that there are multiple ways to do this. When I add all the parts wongcorgi listed into the shopping cart, it's actually the cheapest option of all. Can anyone give me a second opinion on wongcorgi's setup?
posted by AONeal79 at 9:37 PM on March 5, 2009

woncorgi's setup will not work. From the monoprice page for the "VGA to component" cable:
"THIS CABLE WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO CONNECT YOUR COMPUTER'S VGA PORT TO THE COMPONENET INPUT ON YOUR HDTV unless your video card supports component out function through it's VGA port (please confirm with your video cards documentation before purchasing)

This cable will not convert RGBHV into Y, Pr, Pb"
The problem is that your TV only has 3 inputs:

1) composite (everything on the same set of conductors) -- the cheap and cheerful solution.
2) S-Video (luminance [how bright a certain part of the picture is] on one set of conductors, chrominance [what color it is] on another -- the more sophisticated solution, but man are those connectors fragile.
3) Y Pb Pr (the green, blue and red plugs - luminance [Y] + difference between blue and Y [Pb] + difference between red and Y [Pr]) on three set of conductors) -- the best means of input for your TV, but also the most complex.

But none of them are RGB (red-green-blue), which is what the analog signals from your macbook's DVI output are. Therefore, you need some kind of converter box, like the Apple one that was linked above.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 10:01 PM on March 5, 2009

And if you want TMI about the various video signal types, connectors and cables, this is a good start.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 10:05 PM on March 5, 2009

Oh, to be precise your TV has 5 video inputs: one RF input (the ANT IN input with the white cable plugged in), two composite inputs (the two yellow RCA connectors at the top left of the IN section), one S-Video input (at the bottom left of the IN section) and one component [YPbPr] input (the green, blue and red connectors arranged in a column at the right of the IN section)
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 10:12 PM on March 5, 2009

Fellion's setup is exactly how I did this for years. Headphone jack to red/white rca audio in, apple video adaptor to svideo jack... It worked quite well for me. Then of course HD came along and I had to switch things up, but I think you'd be quite happy with that setup.
posted by raygan at 8:04 AM on March 6, 2009

Response by poster: Well, f*ck. Ordered wongcorgi's recommendations and can't cancel the order. FANTASTIC.
posted by AONeal79 at 2:39 PM on March 6, 2009

Response by poster: Ok, so since I couldn't stop shipment of wongcorgi's cable suggestions, I tried hooking it all up today. My Macbook doesn't recognize any signal from the TV or vice versa. Is this to be expected? Thanks..
posted by AONeal79 at 2:34 PM on March 9, 2009

This is to be expected. The cable is sending the analog RGBHV signal from your macbook's DVI connector to the YPbPr connectors on your TV. Your TV does not understand RGBHV.

You need a dongle (like the one kickingtheground, fellion and jessamyn linked to) to convert the signals your macbook produces to signals your TV can understand, such as composite [round yellow connectors] or S-Video [small 4-pin connectors].
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 8:29 PM on March 9, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks Stony. Am returning current setup for the one that got the most reco's.
posted by AONeal79 at 11:16 PM on March 9, 2009

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