using HDTV as your display (great choice!)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by gootch35, Nov 7, 2007.

  1. gootch35 macrumors newbie

    Nov 4, 2007
    Although the Macbook Pro has an amazing interface and display ratio( i.e. it is more detailed and sexy to look at than most screens), your macbook pro-ing experience can still be enhanced greatly (if you still have the funds to splooge even after you bought your lappy toppy).

    I recently looked on this website to try to find some information about connecting my MBP to a television.

    Some questions that I had were:
    1. Is it possible to connect the MBP to a tv? (i know it seems simple, but hey, some people still have the question) And also, does the tv type (i.e. LCD, Plasma, Dlp) matter?
    2. What kind of cables or programs do i need to have my interface show up on my tv.
    3. Is the cost of connecting it going to be worth it for what i want to do?

    1. yes of course it is possible to connect the MBP to a television. One of the greatest parts of these computers is that they are sexy in every way, and if you can think of a way that you might be able to improve your MBP experience, chances are its probably already thought up. what does this all mean? it means that the means to do what you want to do, are just a credit card away!

    The type of television only affects the way it looks when you view it, although there are some necessery connections that your tv must have in order to make it possible.

    If you have a MBP, it has a DVI connection slot on the right side towards the back. (in my case, i ended up buying a Samsung 50" LED rear projection DLP HDTV model number HL T5087s)..

    the best quality connection i could think of getting was through the HDMI port on my television!

    not only does this improve the quality, but it makes less of a mess with cords because you dont have components and its just one cord!!


    so since i have a DVI/HDMI port on my television (along with a PC in, which sux and PC users get to use because they sux too.... just lower quality than DVI ... i think it would use VGA) and the DVI slot on my MBP, i figured out that i needed to get a DVI to HDMI cable to make the hookup work!!

    when i looked on this site, as well as other sites online, i found that the pictures of the DVI connection was different-looking than the female connection on my MBP... the MBP has three rows of 8 or 9 prongs and a cross looking thing with 4 holes around it. Almost ALL of the DVI male ends i saw online only had two separate clumps of 3 rows X 3 columns each and a little line over where the cross was...


    Because you have MORE HOLES THAN PRONGS, and NOT more prongs than holes, you can still make the connection!

    it turns out that the extra holes are to transfer SOUND through the cable. (i have heard rumors that even though the holes are available on the MBP, it still wont transmit sound even if you have the male end with ALL the prongs and 4 dots)

    not to worry, the point of this is not to get the sound on your mac to the sound on your TV, the point is to get the interface to display on a SWEET
    50" HDTV

    3. now.... you may or may not know, an increase in the length of cables used, results in a decrease in quality... So, if you are looking for a cable that goes DVI-HDMI, you want a cord that is as short as possible (but still long enough not to make your life to difficult). This will save you quality, but even bigger , it will save you MONEY!!!

    a 6' dvi-hdmi cable will cost anywhere from 30-75 dollars (differing based on where u purchase it, and the quality of it)... the shorter the better if u ask me!

    WHAT I DID!!

    i bought my samsung HL T5087S LED DLP HDTV

    i bought a 6' DVI to HDMI cable with less prongs than i had slots for

    i connected my cable to the dvi/hdmi 3 slot on my television (with the power off!!) and connected the DVI end into my MBP

    i then used a PC audio (headphone jack) to component audio (red and white for left and right) to connect the sound from my MBP to the same surround sound that i use on my television. WITH THE POWER OFF!

    Turn both the tv and the computer on.
    At first your tv may only display the desktop background
    This frustrated me for a minute, but then i realized that there is a button on the keyboard (i think its f7.... its the one with a picture of two boxes). if you press this button, you will get your cursor, and files on your desktop, as well as any programs you run to show up on your new 50 inch tv!!!!

    now... you may be wondering... wow, so you're sitting 6' away from a 50" HDTV ?! your eyes are going to explode!

    not to worry, my eyes are fine.

    i also purchased an awesome bluetooth apple wireless keyboard! its the one that basically looks exactly like the keyboard from the MBP, very slim and slick looking! i also bought a wireless mouse by microsoft =(

    i wish apple made a bluetooth wireless mouse with more than a single click button on it ...

    total cost for the 6' DVI to HDMI -$60
    total cost for the bluetooth keyboard by apple - 72$ (mine was opened in store, so i got a 10 dollar break)
    total cost for the 20' audio cable - $20

    i also bought another audio cable to go from my surround sound to my TV because my tv doesnt have a headphone jack (so i needed white and red to go to white and red)... i couldnt do green or black to go to white and red =(

    Now i can sit at a very comfortable distance (anywhere in the living room) from the television, and play World of Warcraft or do online physics homework, without hurting my eyes!


    You bet your best boots it was!

    although there is a significant decrease in the quality of the interface (you can see more pixels), this is only because it doesnt increase the resolution from the computer to the HDTV... it only BLOWS IT UP!

    you are, in essence, looking at the same amount of pixels, so each pixel is bigger (thus making it easier for your eye to see small blocks on the screen)

    Even tho the quality isnt as amazingly smooth as it is when i play it on the MBP screen, it is completely worth spending the time and money.

    for one, you can sit anywhere in your house and play on a huge screen. if you get uncomfortable on the couch sit on the floor, sit on the dog, sit on the table, lay on the bed down the hall.

    if you play any online games, the amount of utils you recieve from doing so will increase exponentially... (i play a 70 pvp warrior in World of Warcraft, and nothing feels better than slaying everyone and their mom on a 50" display)..

    there is no squinting involved, and with such a high quality television, you can change contrast, gamma, lighting, and such from your tv AS WELL AS from your MBP, making a ton more possibilities to get the screen just the way you like it


    feel free to drop me a line, or reply to this thread, ill be more than happy to help you out!

    thanks for reading, i hope i helped
  2. ntrigue macrumors 68040


    Jul 30, 2007
    I hope you haven't overlooked the most substantial element of your setup. Close you laptop and 'wake' it using the wireless keyboard and the MBPro is capable of 2560 x 1920 resolution.

    HD Resolution Instruction
  3. Nugget macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2002
    Houston Texas USA
    Well, yes this is technically correct, but there's not a 50" television on the planet that cares. An HDTV is at best 1920x1080 and often is just 1280x720.
  4. mmendoza27 macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2007
    That's why I think I'll never buy a 30" ACD (don't get me wrong, it crosses my mind, they are just sooo awesome!). I have my MacBook Pro hooked up to my 40" LCD TV and have the audio cable to provide 5.1 surround sound to my receiver.

    This set up is awesome, especially for stuff like Front Row. I have a bunch of Japanese HDTV performances and they come out perfectly on my HDTV. My HDTV (Samsung) is only capable of 1366x768, although I wish it was 1080p.

    To me, it's more economical to buy a 1920x1080 50" or 61" HDTV versus a 30" ACD. You get the higher resolution on the ACD, but the HDTV is twice the size. Plus, you can easily use the HDTV for PS3, Xbox 360, Blu-ray, DirecTV, etc. You can find a 50" HDTV for around $2,000 especially if it's a DLP.
  5. mankar4 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 23, 2007
    IMO, an hdtv doesnt double for a working monitor because of low resolutions. I have a 24" external at 1900 x 1200, which is way denser pixelation than any hdtv out there and is essential for working close to the screen. Initially I had it hooked to a 27" 1080i TV, and it was terrible in comparison. I suppose if I were far away from the screen, an hdtv would be fine.
  6. Nugget macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2002
    Houston Texas USA
    THis is exactly right. It doesn't really make sense to compare a 30" ACD to an HDTV. You can't exactly plop a television on your desk, pull up a chair and get to work. A 30" ACD delivers an entirely different experience. Similarly, from 12 feet away the extra pixels of the ACD aren't adding any value if you're watching a movie.

    The great thing about super high-resolution displays like the 30" is that they give you a staggeringly large workspace for managing multiple windows and viewing many things concurrently. A television set doesn't even try to do that.

    The great thing about a television is that you can use it as a computer display from ten feet away while you're relaxing on your couch. A 30" ACD can't do that at all -- it's unreadable from across the room.
  7. ntrigue macrumors 68040


    Jul 30, 2007
    This and a few other threads encouraged me to pull the trigger on a bedroom TV. Sharp Aquos 37" LCD 1080P.

    Obviously I will provide feedback when I've used it a bit.

    Between the resolution and the reasonable size I think it will suit my movie needs with a little internet browsing from the couch.
  8. chillywilly macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2005
    Salt Lake City
    I've got my MBP 15" CD 2.0ghz hooked up to my new Vizio 37" HDTV (720p model, not 1080p). It worked pretty well and if I position it right, I can close the lid and use the Apple remote to access Front Row and watch my TV shows on the big screen.

    Most of it is to test the function of watching TV shows from the computer (a pre-cursor to getting an Apple TV).

    The audio cable (1/8" jack to RCA white and red) works, but I want to try the optical solution to see if I can avoid having to adjust volume levels on both the MBP and the TV. Getting the right combination of volume and audio levels is the hardest part of it. The optical connection should treat both ports as a true line-out, letting the TV control the volume level.

    For the most part, it works. I'd never use it as a large monitor for any serious or long term work. The higher pixel density of computer LCD monitors are so much nicer.

    But for TV and other casual use, it works out pretty good.
  9. japasneezemonk macrumors 6502


    Jun 13, 2005
    I hook up my Powerbook to and 32" Samsung and its ok for watching movies, otherwise its more of a novelty. The color calibration annoys me. I tried changing the settings for the display but it seems like the colors are always washed out. Myabe its my PB or the HDMI cable I'm using. however, my satelite dish is connected through s-video and looks a million time better.
  10. g-ram macrumors newbie

    Nov 4, 2007
    Jax, FL
    Nice 'writeup' ...for a newbie. But you have a few mistakes, let me help you.

    What you have heard are not rumors. DVI does not carry audio at all. Regardless of having all the pins you possibly can for a DVI connection, you will not get any audio through it. You did however, discover the solution of connecting a separate audio cable.

    Also incorrect. There is no quality loss depending on the length of the cable or the supposed "quality" or brand of the cable. Trust me, I know this for a fact. I have a 10 foot HDMI cable that I bought on eBay for $5 and I also have a 3 foot Monster cable that cost $150... there is ZERO difference. HDMI and DVI are digital signals (just a bunch of 1s and 0s being sent through the cable).

    Now, I do not own a MacbookPro ...yet. However, it seems to me that (perhaps the default, when an external display is detected) you discovered what is called the "extended desktop mode" where you use two displays at once. Try connecting them in this fashion again and then move your mouse cursor outside of the viewing area on your MBP. You should find out that you can move the cursor to your second screen (the TV) and thus can use both screens at once, doubling your productivity (or fun). Also, you should be able to just close the lid on your MBP and the TV will take over as the only screen you are using (instead of pressing F7).

    Every mouse Apple offers have two buttons on them. There are no defined buttons on the surface, but they do indeed detect a right or left click.

    As was posted earlier, if you shut the lid on the MBP and then wake it with your keyboard. The MBP supports a higher output resolution that would match the 1920x1080 of your HDTV. Also, if you end up liking the "extended desktop mode" I'm certain you can change the resolution on your 'second display' by going into the Displays pane in System Preferences.

    Hope I helped steer you straight on a couple of these mistakes. Happy gaming!
  11. mlb82800 macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2008
    Can Not Get Sound And Display At The Same Time

    Can Not Get Sound And Display At The Same Time
    Please help!

    I get either display OR sound when connecting my MacBook with my HDTV, but can not seem to get both at the same time.

    Any suggestions? Are there any settings I need to change to see the display and hear the sound at the same time on my TV. I have an LG 20LS7D TV, if that helps.
  12. benjs macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2008
    Maybe there's "ZERO difference" visible to you on a computer screen, but I hate to say.. I don't trust you, and you don't know this for a "fact". Even though HDMI and DVI are digital, if you look, you will find that cheap HDMI/DVI cables will often produce degradation in the images outputted in the form of entire pixels of missing signals. You are incorrect, I've witnessed it first-hand. A thicker cable and a shorter distance often are the solution to partial dropped signals. We have a JVC RX-1 projector shooting a 125" diagonal image, and believe me - when we switched to a higher-gauge cable it was noticeable.

Share This Page