Help with Connecting Macbook Pro to HDTV

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Morpheus101, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. Morpheus101 macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2009
    Hi, I'm new here but I figured you guys could help me out with this. I have a Macbook Pro with Mac OS X 10.5.6 and I have a Sony HDTV with 4 HDMI inputs. I have a DVI-HDMI wire which I connected and realized later that this setup means no audio, only video. I went out and bought a wire that is a 3.5mm jack (Headphones) on one end and RCA (Yellow, White, And Red) on the other. When I plugged them into the TV (right under the HDMI input there was two other L & R audio inputs) the video looks great but the audio is REALLY poor. I tried to watch an .avi file and also a .mkv file through VLC player and a .mov on Quicktime. The TV volume was up all the way to 100 (Max) and I could barely here it. It sounded like it was on about 15.

    A. Is this the best way to get things from the Macbook onto the TV?
    B. If so, what can I do about the audio being so low?

    Thanks a lot in advance.
  2. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    I'll answer your quesitons in reverse order:

    B) You almost certainly have the volume on the Mac set too low; since the TV is a line-level input, you always want the Mac's volume at max, and then adjust it down to a comfortable level with the TV's volume control. This will produce the best quality--so long as there are no ground loop issues, it should sound quite good.

    If the Mac IS already at max volume, then you must've gotten a cable that has attenuation in it; though I won't pretend to know the exact details, it's basically meant for dropping the signal level down as it passes through the cable. It would visually look identical, but a non-attenuated cable will do what you want (so long as the Mac is at max volume) while an attenuated one will do exactly what you are seeing. I was a little surprised that the folks at my local Radio Shack could explain the difference to me and tell me which I wanted, so you might go and ask if you're not sure.

    A) Does your TV have a Toslink (optical audio) input? Many do (mine does, anyway), and since your MacBook Pro can also supply optical audio, this will send a lossless signal between your Mac and your TV for the maximum possible quality. What you will need to hook it up is a Toslink cable and a Toslink-3.5mm optical adapter (I think they're also called mini-toslink, but not sure).

    The 3.5mm end looks more or less like a standard headphone jack and will fit in one, but it is optical; your laptop's audio in and out ports actually have a little optical receiver/transmitter in there in addition to the analog circuitry. If you plug the mini-optical adapter into your MBP's sound out port, then hook the toslink cable to it, then hook the other end to your TV, you should get pure, perfect digital sound.

    You'll know it's set up correctly because you will no longer be able to adjust the Mac's volume--since it's a digital signal the adjustment happens on the other end. You'll just see a little "no" icon and it'll be pinned at max if you try.

    If your TV DOESN'T have an optical audio input, then your current 3.5mm-RCA splitter is the best you're going to be able to do.

Share This Page