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Tips on Connecting Your Macbook to a TV

written by: Michael Dougherty•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 1/24/2011

Tired of watching video on your tiny MacBook screen? Why not connect your MacBook to your TV? Here's how ...

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    Many MacBook users don't realize how easy it is to connect your MacBook to your TV and use it in a home theatre setup. With the right adapters it is extremely easy to accomplish this and watch movies on the largest screen in your house, your TV.

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    The MacBook Mini DisplayPort

    MacBook to Tv - Mini DisplayPort The MacBook Mini DisplayPort is where all your MacBook to TV connections will start. From this port you will buy an adapter that will convert the signal to a format that can be input into your TV. The MacBook use to come with a full-size DVI port but Apple decided to replace the DVI port with the Mini DisplayPort to save some room on the new MacBook.

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    The Adapters

    MacBook to Tv - Mini DisplayPort to DVI You have three viable choices when it comes to adapters to use when connecting your MacBook to your TV. These adapters are the Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter, the Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter and the Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter. The first two adapters can be purchased from Apple while the Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter can be found at third-party vendors.

    When choosing an adapter you have a couple things to take into consideration. The first and most important thing you must find out is what video-in connections your TV supports. Then, if your TV supports more than one of the above connections, which one do you want to use?

    MacBook to Tv - Mini DisplayPort to VGA The Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter will give you average picture quality, the Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter will give you excellent picture quality while the Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter will give you top-notch picture quality (as well as audio). In the end if your TV supports HDMI the Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter is your best choice.

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    The Cables

    After you have an adapter in hand you will still need a cable to go from your adapter to your TV. Depending on the adapter you chose you will have to purchase a cable to match that connection. A VGA cable is very inexpensive, same with the DVI cable but a good quality HDMI cable can cost a bit more. Be sure to remember to order your cable when you order your adapter so your not stuck waiting once your adapter arrives!

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    MacBook to TV - Making the Connection

    With MacBook, adapter and cable in hand you are now ready to make the connection to your TV. The first connection you will want to make is to plug your adapter into the Mini DisplayPort of your MacBook. You will then need to connect one end of the cable you bought to your Mini DisplayPort adapter and the other to your TV. Next, set your TV to whatever input you used and set up your second display via System Preferences > Displays on your MacBook. That's all there is to it. You now have your MacBook connected to your TV.

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    Images courtesy of Apple Inc.