TV on the Mac

How to Connect Your Mac to Your TV

Ever want to be able to watch streaming movies, play games or even edit Photos in detail on your beautiful flat screen TV? Connecting our Mac’s to our TV’s can seem kind of overwhelming at first but luckily it’s not difficult at all and with this guide you’ll be killing those Orcs on your TV screen in no time. If you are luck enough to have Apple Tv and are running Mountain Lion take a look at this article: How To Screen Share to Your TV Using AirPlay.

Step 1 “HDMI Cable”

We need cables! This can be the most annoying – not knowing exactly what you need. There are two ways – to my knowledge – of connecting your Mac to your TV. The simple way is to go and buy 1 cable. This cable is called a “Mini Display Port to HDMI Cable” and can be found at places like BestBuy. The other method is buying an HDMI Cable and using an adaptor, this may be due to your TV set up or your Mac’s Display Port.

Step 2 “Connecting”

As you can see from the “Mini Display to HDMI Cable” that one side is smaller than the other, the smaller end goes into your Mac’s “MiniPort”. The larger end goes into the back of your TV marked either “PC” “PC In” or “HDMI 1,2,3” depending on the type of TV you have. This will give you both Audio and Video.

Step 3 “Set Up”

Now everything is connected but you still don’t see what is on your computer screen on your TV, this can be due to several reasons. 1. You need to turn your TV onto HDMI 1, 2 or 3 depending on which port you plugged the HDMI side of the cable into. 2. Your Mac display is not set to detect your TV.

In order to detect your TV on your Mac you need to go into “System Preferences” > “Displays” > click “Detect Displays”. At this point your Mac should have detected your TV and be displaying on the screen. You’re all done!

VGA Method

If you noticed above I said your TV ports in the back may say “PC In” which means the HDMI cable won’t work. The “PC In” port requires a VGA cable which is just like that big chucky cable that runs from your normal PC monitor to the tower.

VGA Cable

If this is the case you need to obtain a “VGA Cable” instead of an “HDMI Cable” on top of a few other things.

VGA Adaptor

The VGA Cable will not connect directly to your Mac so we need a VGA adaptor. This will connect to your Mac on one end and the VGA Cable into the other – the middle man if you will.

Once you have the VGA Cable and VGA Adaptor follow steps 2 and 3 above as normal. You should have your Mac displaying on your TV at this point but now we need audio because the VGA cable does not support audio.

Getting Audio

In order to get audio using the VGA method we need two more things. The first is a Gold-Plated Stereo Adaptor. This has the red and white audio ports – as we are extremely familiar with – on one end and what looks like a headphone jack on the other end.

Lastly we need RCA cables which are the red and white cables and sometimes with yellow. I say this about the yellow because you may have a cable with all three colors; this is fine you just won’t be using the yellow one.

Now let’s get some audio, plug the Stereo Adaptor into your Mac – where you would plug your headphones in. Next connect the RCA cables to the adaptor then finally take the other end of the RCA cables and connect them to the back of your TV.

These are two basic methods to connecting your Mac to your TV depending on the type of TV you own. Hopefully this guide helped you understand how to connect your Mac to your TV effectively. Good luck and enjoy!

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About the author


I've been a passionate evangelist for Apple and the Macintosh throughout my working life, my first love was a Quadra 605 working with a small creative agency in the south of Norfolk UK in the mid 1990's, I later progressed to other roles in other Macintosh dominated industries, first as a Senior graphic designer at a small printing company and then a production manager at Guardian Media Group. As the publishing and printing sector wained I moved into Internet Marketing and in 2006 co-founded which grew to become one the top 200 visited sites in the US (according to Quantcast), at its peak receiving over 15 million visits per month. For the last ten years I have worked as an Affiliate and Consultant to many different business and start ups, my key skill set being online marketing, on page monetisation, landing page optimisation and traffic generation, if you would like to hire me or discuss your current project please reach out to me here.

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