Macbook Air Dilemma - Thunderbolt Display and Extermal Display

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by JasonR, Sep 17, 2014.

  1. JasonR macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2008
    So I ordered a maxed out 13" Macbook Air Refurb to replace my rMBP 15".

    I totally forgot, that I hook up my 65" TV as an external display to watch life NFL on Sundays.

    Of course, I use the HDMI port for the TV, and the thunderbolt port for the Thunderbolt display.

    I'm guessing I can't accomplish this on the Macbook Air very easily...

    Can I?
  2. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    I think you are asking how to hook up a MBA to a TV via HDMI considering there is no HDMI on the MBA. If so, here are two solutions. You can either get a dedicated male-male HDMI/mini-display port cable for direct connection with the TV.

    You can also use a female-male HDMI/mini-display port adapter attached to an HDMI cable.

    Both cost about the same, and will have the same result. The only reason to get the second one is if you have an extra long HDMI cable you would like to use. I am happy to help if I misunderstood your question, so just let me know :).

  3. JasonR, Sep 18, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2014

    JasonR thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2008
    No, that's not what I'm asking.

    I have a thunderbolt display, so that will be taking up the thunderbolt port on my Macbook Air.

    From the research I've done, I can't plug in a MDP to HDMI and then run that to my TV.

    Does that make sense?
  4. MRrainer macrumors 65816

    Aug 8, 2008
    Zurich, Switzerland

    How do you watch NFL, if I may ask?
    Is it possible to watch it via AppleTV?

    There are also solutions like these:

    I don't even have a TV, so I cannot comment further on it - but according to the reviews, it works.
    Maybe you can pick up a used one from ebay for less.
  5. MacModMachine macrumors 68020


    Apr 3, 2009
    macbook air -> thunderbolt display -> HDMI (to 65" tv)?

    should work as long as the thunderbolt display is apple branded.
  6. AdrianK macrumors 68020

    Feb 19, 2011
    IIRC you need something at the end of the chain after the TBD for MDP to work (eg an HDD or something). I read that years ago though, would like to know if that's still the case.

    OP, you could look at a USB 3->HDMI adapter. The USB 2 ones were pretty slow but from what I've read the USB 3 ones run very well and I imagine it would be absolutely fine for 24 FPS. I don't know if they support audio though.
  7. JasonR thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2008
    i read the same thing about the display (And yes, it's an Apple 27" TBD).

    I do have a MDP to HDMI adapter I can try, but I've read it won't work.

    USB 3 > HDMI might work...
  8. case2001 macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2010
    So I guess you want to watch the TV and use the Thunderbolt Display simultaneously. I don't think that is possible. I have read that as mentioned above if a thunderbolt hard drive is between the Thunderbolt Display and the tv it should work.

    I connect my MacBook Air to HDMI via Thunderbolt port and it works perfect.
  9. MTI macrumors 65816

    Feb 17, 2009
    Scottsdale, AZ
  10. UnlikelyLass macrumors newbie

    Mar 28, 2016
    You can absolutely run two external monitors off a MacBook Air 13", but you need two *thunderbolt devices* in the chain. I have successfully done the following for most of the past year:
    1. MBA 13" (2015)
    2. Thunderbolt 2 elgato dock with 2x Thunderbolt ports & HDMI -> Monitor 1
    3. Thunderbolt 2 HDD with 2x Thunderbolt
    4. mDP adapter -> Monitor 2
    In your case, the Thunderbolt monitor takes the place of the TB2 Dock with HDMI out. You will not be able to take a mDP adapter and stick it into the downstream TB port on the monitor. However, if you have another TB device with passthrough, you CAN stick it into the downstream port on that device if it follows the monitor.

    Apparently, the TB data stream has 2 DP streams encapsulated in it, but each TB device is only capable of decoding 1 of them by default. So you have the monitor decoding one, I have a dock decoding one. The second one is unavailable unless there is another TB device in the chain.

    Targus does make a TB2 dock which has two DP out -- it apparently decodes both TB video streams internally.

    That's been my experience, at least. YMMV.

    Hope this helps!

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