new Macbook Pro to tv?
July 12, 2009 6:12 PM   Subscribe

How do I connect a new Macbook Pro to televisions?

My question is identical to this older one, but that the new MBP's have Mini DisplayPorts instead of Mini-DVI.

I want to connect mine to my HDTV, as well as to older/regular tv's (composite). How many adapters do I need to buy? I'm guessing mdp -> hdmi for the hdtv. According to the wiki, I need to get two for the composite: mdp -> vga -> composite, which seems excessive to me.

Do any of you have first-hand experience with this? Can you recommend any sites that offer adapters/cables at good prices?

Thanks for your time-
posted by cgs to Technology (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

That looks just like what you're looking for.
posted by mephron at 6:19 PM on July 12, 2009

Monoprice Mini display port to HDMI
Monoprice mni display port to VGA
I'm not sure how it'll react to a composite adapter, it may not work since the OS needs to specify a resolution. I'd recommend sticking to the HDTV & other monitors.
posted by ijoyner at 6:40 PM on July 12, 2009

also, the mini-display will have no audio...but this one is being released for hdmi that uses usb for the audio
Mini-Disp [HDMI/USB]
posted by mattsweaters at 6:57 PM on July 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have my Mac Mini hooked up to my TV. I use a DVI to Video adapter and then hit my Radio Shack for an headphone jack to composite sound and the yellow video composite to yellow video composite cord.
posted by jaybeans at 7:11 PM on July 12, 2009

I do have experience with this, and what you surmised in your initial post is correct. You do need mini displayport -> hdmi for an hdtv and mini displayport -> VGA -> Composite for a regular TV.

One thing to keep in mind that I was not aware of (but makes sense) is that the quality that you're going to get out of the chain of adapters to a standard-def TV is not equal to what you could get out of an older macbook which supported composite output natively (with an apple adapter). Unless you're planning on dropping a lot of cash on a vga -> composite converter, then that's going to limit your picture quality. Now, I say it limits it in that it's good enough for my mom, but if it was for me, I'd still be playing with the settings to get it to look better. is definitely the site to go to for this kind of thing (and many other things). I've probably saved thousands of dollars by buying cables from there as opposed to a regular store, and that's only over the course of a few orders. Sometimes you might get something that you have to wiggle occasionally to get it to work right, but that's only for some sort of analog adapter that you only paid 97 cents for anyway. All of the digital cables I've ever purchased from Monoprice are tops.
posted by miraimatt at 7:50 PM on July 12, 2009

Most TV's nowadays have component input, and you can find VGA<>Component cables fairly easily, you sure you need to go the composite route?
posted by wongcorgi at 8:57 PM on July 12, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for all the help, everyone. Regarding the composite: I like knowing I can take my laptop over to anyone's house and connect it up, if need be. Every TV (or VCR, back in the day) had composite, often in the front. I'm about to spend a week at the shore w/ my family, and I like showing off my photos on the (older) TV at the end of the trip.

I loved how easy it was to connect my old Powerbook to a TV... welcome to the future :-/
posted by cgs at 9:05 PM on July 12, 2009

I have the monoprice mini-to-HDMI and it works fine. Something about the way that the Mac managed the multiple monitor outs seems different to me from what I recall when I last used multiple monitor outs on a Mac (pre OS X, I think) and I found that mildly irksome. Additionally picking the right rez out was a bit tricky, but that was partly because I primarily use the HDMI as a gaming display and figuring out which game-determined fixed rez was right and appropriate for the TV was a PITA.
posted by mwhybark at 9:44 PM on July 12, 2009

Regarding the composite: I like knowing I can take my laptop over to anyone's house and connect it up, if need be.

Understood, but since you mention you have an HDTV yourself, you should really think about HDMI (or Component if your HDTV is a few years old). Composite will only carry a standard-def 480i signal, and not very cleanly at that. HDMI will better use the capabilities of your display (720 or 1080).
posted by squid patrol at 12:11 AM on July 13, 2009

Response by poster: i have my mac connected to my hdtv via my xbox (streaming)... if i could run a giant cable under my floor so i could surf the web on my set w/o having to bring the laptop over, i would ;-)
posted by cgs at 7:12 AM on July 13, 2009

A word of warning: You can't go from the MiniDisplayPort to an old analog TV with a passive adapter. Unfortunately, you need an active converter. Welcome to the future, indeed.

The DVI outs (and mini-DVI, too) on the old MacBook Pros were capable of producing an analog signal in addition to the digital one. That's the secret behind the old DVI-to-Composite adapters. The new MiniDisplayPort outs, however, can't do analog. You need a separate digital-to-analog converter to plug your unibody MacBook Pro into an older television.

Something like this or this will let you plug into an old analog TV.
posted by sportbucket at 4:36 PM on July 13, 2009

« Older Is webring technology stuck in 1998?   |   Identify this odd, seemingly antiquated children's... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.