Connecting MBP to LCD tv...

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mdwsta4, Jun 28, 2008.

  1. mdwsta4 macrumors 65816

    Jul 23, 2007
    it looks like i'll be moving in a few months and i'm guessing what my money will get me in LA will not be as large as what it currently gets me in Chicago. so chances are i'll be getting rid of my desk and simplifying my computer set up. i figured i could plug my MBP into my LCD tv. i would need a DVI to VGA cable to do this, correct? like this one:

    i saw one at the apple store and it looks like the cord is only a few inches long. i would think i'd need the cord to be at least 16"+. was the packaging deceiving and the cord's actually longer? or are there other alternatives?
    any help would be appreciated. never looked into doing this before so i'm learning.

  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    The Apple product you linked is the correct one, but it's an adapter -- not a cable. The idea is that you plug the adapter into a Macbook and a VGA cable into the adapter. The most common reason people do it is to connect to projectors for meetings; usually the projector already has a cable so one only needs an adapter.

    There are several options you have; none of them are one device solutions, as far as I know:

    - Assuming your TV has HDMI, you may end up getting either a cable that goes from DVI to HDMI + an audio cable (since DVI does not carry audio) or a DVI cable + an DVI/HDMI adapter + an audio cable (or a DVI/HDMI adapter + HDMI cable + audio cable still probably). The benefit of this is that the video signal is digital all the way to the TV; the downside is that some TVs will only do TV resolutions like 480p, 720p, 1080i, or 1080p via an HDMI cable, so depending on your TV, you may not be able to drive it at its native resolution (particularly if your TV is 720p; usually the screen will be 1366x768, which is actually higher resolution than 720p).

    - You can get the DVI/VGA adapter you mentioned + a VGA cable + an audio cable. The advantage of this route is that, while your computer sends an analog (but perfectly good analog) signal, TVs are almost always designed to accept their native resolution on a VGA port.
  3. newbie jnr macrumors member

    Mar 10, 2008
    I've been fiddling around with something like this at home. My TV has both VGA ad HDMI inputs, and the MBP easily handles either. SO getting picture is easy. For general computer use, i'd recommend using the VGA since I found that using the HDMI, whilst getting a slightly noticeably better picture, the higher resolution meant icons, text, etc were smaller and harder to see.

    If you want sound as well (eg movie watching) then it gets tricky...because HDMI carries both audio and video and DVI is only video. Usually there's no separate input for sound when using HDMI (at least not on my TV) but my TV had a sound input for when using VGA. If you had a separate sound system then i would imagine it wouldn't be a problem.

    I found HDMI is best for watching movies, with MBP in clamshell mode.

    So, reiterating.....using LCD as monitor>>>use a VGA cable with DVI to VGA adapter (the adapter may have come with your MBP)

    Don't know if i've over-answered you question, but good luck!
  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    I haven't fiddled with this in extensive detail, but it seems that on my TV (which has just one VGA and one HDMI port), there is an analog audio and an SPDIF port that are shared between VGA and HDMI -- if there's no audio signal over the HDMI port, it seems to use the audio cable that normally goes with the VGA port. But this is a very good point, and if the OP's TV doesn't allow for pairing of the HDMI port with another audio port, it's yet another reason to go VGA....
  5. donmei macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2007
    You could just use a standard VGA cable. The mbp does VGA out and most new TVs offer VGA in. (usually refered to as "PC")


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