How to hook up your Mac to your HD television

Posted by Mac Upgrade Store on August 04, 2014
Want to see how your favorite Mac video game looks on your 60-inch high definition Sony television? Maybe you’re an Apple or Hulu TV fan and want to play your programs on a real TV for a change.  It is as easily done as said.

Until someone in the Mac development lab figures out how to do it wirelessly, however, you’ll just have to go the old-fashioned way: with connectors and, depending on your setup, with an adapter or two.

♦ A VGA quick start

Try this quick setup using an ordinary PC VGA cable and Mac adapter: You’ll need an extra PC VGA cable as well as the Mac VGA adapter that came in the box with your Mac desktop. VGA cables are ridiculously inexpensive and are available everywhere. The Mac adapter couples the VGA cable with the Mac video card connector that plugs into the back of your Mac.

The VGA cable end is then plugged into the VGA port on your television. You may need to set your TV to the “PC mode” to receive the Mac signal (refer to your owner’s manual). Also, you’ll probably have to reduce the computer screen resolution to it’s lowest resolution to make the screen size fit. (Go to Mac's System Preferences/Hardware/Displays to do that.)

If you are using a Mac laptop, you’ll notice that your laptop only has the small DVI port on its left side.  To attach a VGA cable you’ll need buy a monitor cable adapter. The Apple Mini DVI to VGA Adapter, Model A1307, priced at about $19, fits into the side of the PowerMac laptop and has a female 15-pin receptacle that couples with the male end of the VGA cable.  Go to the Apple Store on line or visit your local Mac Store to buy one.

♦ For HD resolution and sound

In addition to the VGA connector, more recent HD television models also have computer ports that will display the better high definition resolution, but you’ll need to buy the cables and adapters get connected. Check the back of your HD television to find one or two recessed vertical slots labeled “DVI/HDMI.” (Stands for Digital Video Interface/High Definition Multiple Interface). If you want bring in the sound from your Mac, you’ll need to go (Mini)DVI to HDMI.


Mac desktops have two DVI slots on the back. Your best option is to buy a DVI to HDMI cable (shop on line for the best deal) for a fast hookup between your desktop’s video card on the back (DVI) to your HD television (HDMI).

◊ Mini-DVI to HDMI

For the iMac and the MacBook, you’ll need to use the mini DVI connector (a small rectangular slot on the base of the computer).  You can buy a mini-DVI to HDMI cable cheap from Amazon, among other sources.

♦ Ready to connect!

To bring up the HD television monitor after you have connected your DVI/HDMI cable, you’ll need to power up the HD television first. Then power up your Mac, which will recognize the television’s resolution.  Voilå! Your Mac desktop should come right up. You might need to tweak your TV screen settings if the desktop image is either too large or not big enough for the screen. Check your TV owner’s manual to see if your HDTV has a dot-by-dot or pixel-by-pixel capability and give it a try.

You are now ready to enjoy your games, Hulu TV, or downloaded movies on your monster Sony 60-inch behemoth.