Connecting Macbook Air to plasma television [EXPERT NEEDED]

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by andyokay, Feb 2, 2008.

  1. andyokay macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2008
    Dear Apple folk,

    I have a very important query (life or death, some would say).

    I ordered my MBA specifically to use at college, and now I'm hoping to hook it up to a TV in my dorm room. The MBA should be coming in about two weeks; just before I plan on moving in.

    The TV is a Samsung PPM42M6HSX 47" Plasma. I won it in a raffle a couple of years ago, but it's just sat in my bedroom since then without really being used (I don't really watch TV or DVD's at home).

    But apparently they have a sweet file-sharing network at my college, so I want to hook my MBA up to the TV so I can sit back and pile on the freshman fifteen.

    Here is some information about the TV:

    TV Ports:

    1 x RCA Composite Video In
    1 x 4-pin S-Video In
    3 x RCA
    1 x 15-pin D-Sub (HD-15) VGA In
    5 x BNC
    1 x 29-pin DVI
    2 x 9-pin D-Sub (DB-9) RS-232C
    1 x Audio Line In
    2 x RCA Audio Line In
    1 x RCA Composite Video Out
    1 x 15-pin D-Sub (HD-15) VGA Out
    1 x RCA Stereo Audio Line Out
    Audio Line Out

    Additional Ports Description:

    1 x Audio In: Mini jack
    1 x RS-232C In
    1 x RS-232C Out
    Audio Out: External Speaker Jack

    I will be using some basic speakers connected to the composite AV ports, to play the sound. Am having some difficulty figuring out how exactly to send audio from the MBA, to the TV itself, however.

    Here are my questions:

    1) What sort of video connection is best from the MBA to the television? (DVI to DVI, or DVI to RCA etc.)

    2) If it is DVI to DVI, what specific sort of cord do I need to purchase? I have searched on eBay, but there are lots of different words: DVI Male to Male, DVI-I, DVI-D, 24-1 pins etc (I don't know what any of this means!)

    3) Would the audio port on the television (looks like a headphone/mic jack, but is black) be for playing audio on headphones/speakers, or for audio input? In other words, could I use this port to play audio from the MBA's headphone jack, to the television?

    If you need any more information, please let me know.

    Any help at all would be greatly appreciated :)
  2. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    apple will seel a i think micro dvi to dvi or micro dvi to vga which will just plug right into your tv easily. may want to get extension cables if you want to have your computer not too tethered to tv. for sound, you can get a ministereo to rca if your system has rca inputs

    for video. best connection would be dvi hands down

    these are the cables (any one of them not all 3 depending on what you decide to connect to) you will HAVE to buy (no getting around this)
    for dvi:

    for vga:

    for s video:

    however, you will probably find yout that for using a tv as a monitor will be well fuzzy as tv's even if 1080i or so really arent that high of a resolution when compared to computer monitors. would be nice for movies but not for say getting work done in my opinion
  3. andyokay thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2008
    Thanks for the info :)

    DVI it is.

    The Micro-DVI to DVI adaptor comes with the MBA in the box, so I think I'll just grab a DVI extension cord off eBay.

    I'm just not sure which type to buy.
  4. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    Well, it seems that the TV has audio line in, and the MBA has audio line out, so you just need a long stereo 1/8" minijack cable, easily found at Radio Shack or, really, just about anywhere.

    Are you planning on watching videos/listening to music only, or sharing the desktop? Because if it's just videos and music, a $229 Apple TV would connect to the TV and let you wirelessly share your iTunes files. It just seems wrong to tether an MBA. ;)
  5. sanford macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2003
    Dallas, USA
    Yes, the DVI adapter is packed-in, as is a VGA adapter. If you ever win an HDMI set in a raffle, or ever start using an HDMI switch, you'll just need a DVI->HDMI cable. I paid about $20 for my 6' "Brand X by Belkin" DVI->HDMI cable. Careful, there, though. They seem to go one way or the other, not both -- this is true of my cable, others may know of bidirectional cables -- for some reason, likely to do with pin assignments. Same price, but you'll need DVI-> in your case.

    I'd say you're looking at $40 - 45 for a 3-meter cable, which is pretty much the max for DVI without a powered repeater as a separate component or inbuilt with the cable. $50 maybe. $10 - 15 is scary low. $80 is way, way too much.

    Treadmill, brother, or stationary bike; or check out the student gym, if they have one, at your campus health/fitness center. I read recently somewhere the freshman 15 is, these days, by start of sophomore year more like 30. That you'll feel, for sure.
  6. sanford macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2003
    Dallas, USA
    If you haven't used one before, Apple's whack-o special-style DVI-connectors, the adapters are yankers, not perfectly line-up, screw in cable-securing pins, etc., and then reverse process to untether. In other words, sleep (or close) MBA, yank cable, walk away. Two seconds. Same deal, reverse, two seconds, to reconnect. With Front Row, it really is a good "Apple TV" for a student. Depending on whether or not he really cares about his personal extra tonnage, he might want to pick up an Apple Remote for like $30, as for some reason Apple doesn't pack one in with the MBA.
  7. bjdraw macrumors 6502a

    Jan 24, 2008
    Tampa FL
    As for the configuration.
    The MBA should auto configure based on information exchanged between the TV and the laptop via DVI. If it doesn't you will have to configure the MBA manually. You'll want to look up in your TV manual what resolutions your TV accepts via DVI. I'd assume it will be 1366x768, since that is the displays native resolution. If you don't see this resolution in system preferences, you may need a 3rd party utility called DisplayConfigX.

    You'll also want to see if your TV has a PC setting. You may have to use VGA to access this setting. This setting can also be referred to as other things, I believe Samsung calls it "Just Scan". Basically what it does is disable any built in overscan your TV has (all TVs have overscan engineered into them, even LCDs and Plasmas) If you don't disable the overscan you probably won't be able to see the menus and part of the dock.

    Here is an article I wrote a long time ago, that is more comprehensive.

    And here is why I wrote about connecting my MBP to an older RPTV.
  8. andyokay thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2008
    An Apple TV would be awesome, but there is no wireless in my dorm and only one ethernet port. :( Plus I just dropped what was left of my summer-job savings on an MBA (and dipped into a good portion of my textbook budget lol).

    Thanks for all the help guys - am off to Radio Shack today to pick up a DVI cord (male-female) and a mini stereo cord; hopefully around three meters. Maybe something like this for the DVI cable (except a bit shorter, and therefore cheaper).

    I'm probably only going to use the thing for movie and TV downloads, not really as a monitor, and I picked up an Apple Remote; so it looks like a pretty decent set up so far.

    (Well, for a dorm, at least...) :D

    I joined the gym at orientation, too, so hopefully the freshman fifteen will just be fifteen pounds of MUSCLE lol.
  9. eddietr macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2006
    Why a male-female cable? I haven't seen the dvi adapter yet, but I would think it ends in a female dvi port, not a male one.

    And surely your TV DVI port is female.
  10. andyokay thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2008
    So I should be buying a MALE-MALE DVI cord?
    Those seem to be far more popular than male-female ones, so it would make sense.

    For some reason, my brain can't figure this out. I'm sure it's simple, but no.
  11. eddietr macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2006
    Again, I haven't seen the dvi adapter that ships with the MBA myself. But I would seriously doubt they made it a male to male adapter. That would be strange.

    I think the adapter probably ends in a female DVI connector (The same connector you would see on an MBP).

    And then you just need a male to male cable of the appropriate length.
  12. bjdraw macrumors 6502a

    Jan 24, 2008
    Tampa FL
    Never heard of a Male to female.
    BTW, I'd buy it online, the retail prices on DVR cables are crazy. has very fair prices and good service.
  13. andyokay thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2008
    Cheers, fellas :D

    For some reason, I thought the DVI would need to be MALE > FEMALE to function as an extension cord: then I realized I didn't really need an extension. I just needed the normal cord.

    I found some fairly cheap ($25 for 3m) - I saw some cheaper on eBay, but they looked fairly dodgy. I bought a long mini-jack audio cord online also - only about $6.

    I guess my desk is going to look pretty messy this year :\
    But at least I'll be able to watch movies on a decent screen :D

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