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How to connect a MacBook to a TV: instructions in various ways


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In this article, you'll learn how to connect a MacBook Pro laptop to a High Definition (HD) TV. You can use an HDMI or Thunderbolt cable (on most HDTVs) or an Apple TV set-top box for this.

Choosing the Right Port

How to connect the MacBook to the TV so that the image is the best? Preference should be given to HDMI and DVI connectors. They provide equally high digital quality. The only practical differences are the form and support for HDMI video and audio in one connection.

An alternative is to use a VGA port. You can apply high definition resolution to it, and many TVs provide special connectivity options that are available only through it. For example, some models allow you to adjust the scaling exclusively for the VGA port. Another possible option is the pixel-by-pixel transmission mode, in which the image from the computer is displayed without any manipulation - stretching or compressing the frame.

Of course, you can try connecting the MacBook to the TV via HDMI, DVI and VGA in turn, and then choose the connection that works best.

MacBook Video Output

Depending on the model year and brand, Mac laptops may have DVI, Mini DVI, Mini DisplayPort, or Thunderbolt ports. Apple also used other types of video connectors, but earlier models did not have enough bandwidth to adequately process, decode, and display a 1080p signal.

Mac DVI and Mini-DVI can play both digital and analog (VGA) video signals. If you connect DVI or miniDVI to the VGA port of an HDTV, you need an inexpensive adapter. Similarly, you need an adapter to connect a miniDVI-connector to a standard DVI-input display.

Mini DisplayPort and Thunderbolt, on the other hand, are digital connections. There are adapters that can convert the video signal coming from these connectors to VGA format, but the quality they create is not suitable for a home theater system.

Adapters and cables

So, before you connect the MacBook to the TV via HDMI, you need to purchase a suitable adapter. There are many sellers of adapters and cables. Apple offers its own models in its “Accessories for Mac” section of its online store.

Although most simple adapters are inexpensive, some of them can be expensive. Fortunately, Apple is not their only manufacturer. There are many places where they can be purchased - from online stores to retail, and they cost less there. For example, the price of Apple’s miniDP-DVI adapter is 2,000 rubles, and the equivalent model of another company will cost 720 rubles. Therefore, it is worth spending a little time searching to find the necessary cables and adapters at affordable prices.

Popular sites offering affordable MacBook accessories are Amazon, Monoprice, and Newegg.

Create connection

If the desired adapter is purchased, and there is the necessary cable, before connecting the MacBook to a Samsung TV, LG or another manufacturer, you must disconnect both devices. By connecting them, you should first turn on the HDTV. There is no need to make special settings for the TV, but it is necessary to supply power to it earlier, so that when loading the laptop can recognize both it and the required resolution. Then turn on your Mac. The laptop must independently determine the format and resolution of the screen and automatically select the most suitable video parameters. After a few seconds, the display will show the desktop.

By default, the laptop tries to use the TV as an external monitor, and it does an excellent job of this feature. But if the goal is to watch movies or games, it’s best to set up a screen duplication feature. To do this, select "Displays" in the system settings and select the duplication option on the screen layout tab.

Image scaling

After the first inclusion, it sometimes becomes noticeable that the desktop is slightly larger than the screen and its edges are cropped. Or it does not take up the entire display space and there are dark areas around the edge. So how to connect the MacBook Air to the TV so that the image scale is correct?

You can usually fix this by adjusting your TV settings. Refer to the user manual for setup information related to zooming. If your HDTV has a pixel-by-pixel display function, you can try it. This should fix any problems associated with an image that is too large or too small. Some models offer only special monitoring functions on certain inputs, so you need to connect to the corresponding port.

Lack of image

It is possible that the user has followed all the instructions in this manual, but the laptop’s desktop did not appear on the screen. How to connect the MacBook to the TV in this case? There are a few things to check.

First, you need to make sure that the correct input is selected. Some models try to simplify input selections by disabling unused ports. If you have not used this video input before, you may need to enable it in the TV menu.

You can also try another connector. If the HDMI port does not work, check the DVI or even VGA input. Thus, you can find the connector that will work correctly.

Sometimes the TV does not tell the MacBook the correct resolution. A laptop can deliver a video signal in one format when the display expects another. As a result, there is nothing on the screen. How to connect the MacBook to the TV in this case? The situation can be corrected using the utility SwitchResX. It allows you to change the resolution that the MacBook sends to the display device. You can find out how to use it on the developer's website.

How to connect a MacBook to a TV?

  1. Connect the cable with one side to the MacBook's HDMI input and the other side to a TV with the same output.
  2. On the TV’s remote control, press the Source button and use the navigation keys to select HDMI where the type of connected device will be indicated (depending on the TV model).
  3. In the MacBook screen settings, set the necessary for your monitor: duplication, expansion or output image to one of the selected monitors. Let us consider each of these options in more detail:
  • Duplication is when everything that happens on a laptop screen is repeated on a large TV monitor.
  • Extension - the desktop is enlarged, that is, you can transfer the window of some program to the second display, and work yourself, for example, in a text editor on the first screen.
  • The output to the first or second monitor - here, perhaps, everything is clear from the name: the image is displayed only on the monitor that you choose.

Connect your MacBook to your monitor via HDMI

So, how to connect the MacBook to a TV via Wi-Fi? There is AirPlay for this. This feature is available only to owners of the Apple TV set-top box, therefore, if you do not have it, the service becomes automatically unavailable to you. AirPlay allows you to do the following things:

  1. Broadcast streaming video from the Safari browser or Quick Time Player.
  2. Use the TV as a monitor, as in the case of connecting via HDMI.

All you have to do is turn on your Apple TV, then select your TV in the AirPlay status menu in the menu bar. In the same place this function is switched off. As you can see, there is nothing complicated. It is enough to press a few keys, and all the necessary content is transferred to the big screen. Please note that for comfortable work with AirPlay you need access to high-speed Internet.

Set-top box for Apple TV

IPhone users probably know (and if they don’t know, they’ll find out now) that when watching a video, for example, an icon for broadcasting a video appears on YouTube. This icon appears if both the Smart TV and the Apple device are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Then you press it, select TV and the video is transferred to the big screen. In the same way, you can try watching videos from the Internet with a Macbook.

Samsung Smart TV


Dear readers, you now know how to connect your Macbook to your TV in several ways. We hope that everything worked out for you, and working with the laptop has become even more comfortable. Please note that some functions may not be available on certain models of Mac computers, so more information should be clarified on the official Apple website. Do not forget to share your opinion, experience and experience in the comments! How do you use two monitors and how did you connect your TV to your Apple laptop?

Connect MacBook to TV

You can connect the MacBook to a television receiver to use the latter as a large monitor using an HDMI cable or wirelessly through the AirPlay function.

Using AirPlay technology to connect the MacBook to a TV is possible if the user has an Apple TV set-top box connected to the TV set. In this case, the laptop, as well as the console, must work in the same home LAN.

Using this function, the user can connect the television receiver as a monitor or transfer streaming video to the big screen from the built-in web browser or multimedia player.
To connect a laptop to the TV screen using the AirPlay function, you need to launch the Apple TV set-top box, activate wireless technology, then go to the display settings on the laptop and select Apple TV in the AirPlay Display section, then click on the “To apply».

If everything is done correctly, the laptop screen image will appear on the large display. In order for the sound to be played in the speakers of the television receiver, not the MacBook, you need to go to the laptop settings and select the device for audio playback in the “Sound” section.
In the event that the user has a modern TV with Wi-Fi and Smart TV, he may have the built-in Apple TV function. It is available on certified LG, Samsung, and Sony TVs.

In this case, to connect the equipment you need to activate the function on the television. Next, on the laptop, click on the Wi-Fi icon and select the “MiraScreen” network. After the connection is established, the “AirPlay” icon will appear next to the Wi-Fi icon. You must click on it, and then click on MiraScreen again.

Now the MacBook display appears on the big screen. If you click on the “AirPlay” icon again, you can configure the use of the TV screen as a separate monitor. In this case, the user will have two desktops, on one he can run some kind of movie, and on the second he can do his own thing. You will need to set the appropriate resolution, you can do this by opening the laptop settings, and then the monitor settings.

Connect via HDMI Mac to the TV - the easiest way. For its implementation, no additional utilities or any configuration of the equipment is required. All you need is to buy a special adapter from the Thunderbolt 3 connector with USB Type C to HDMI interface. This need is due to the fact that the HDMI port is not present on all MacBooks.

With this connection to a computer and laptop, the TV screen becomes the second display on which the user can watch movies, show presentations, play or perform other actions. The adapter, if necessary, can be purchased original or analogue in Chinese online stores. The second option will cost much less, but its reliability will be lower.
To connect the equipment, you must connect the adapter to HDMI to the output on the laptop. On different models, it can be installed from different sides. For example, on the MacBook Pro it is on the left, while on the MacBook Air it is placed on the right side.

Next, you need to connect the cable to the adapter and a free HDMI input on the television. After that, you need to turn on the television and select the signal transmission from the HDMI connector to which the MacBook is connected. If everything is done correctly, the image from the MacBook screen appears on the TV screen. Next, the user can duplicate screens (the image on both devices will be the same), expand (this will allow you to perform different tasks on the television and laptop), and also disable one of the displays.

Connecting Smart TVs

Often users ask how to connect a MacBook to a Smart TV and what features will be available with this connection.
Owners of the iPhone know that the YouTube application can broadcast video on the screen of a smart television receiver if both devices are on the same local network. In this case, a special button appears on YouTube for transferring content, by clicking on which you can send the video to the big screen. Similar features are available on other Apple devices, in particular on laptops.

Possible problems

If the MacBook is connected with an HDMI cable and the image does not appear on the TV screen, you need to make sure that the input to which the laptop is connected is selected as the signal source. You can determine the required port by marking, which is usually near the connector.
If the MacBook does not detect an Apple TV set-top box or a TV set during wireless connection, make sure that Wi-Fi is enabled on the equipment, the devices are on the same wireless network, and AirPlay is activated on them.

Connecting your MacBook to your TV is very easy. You can solve this problem using an HDMI cable or set up a wireless connection via AirPlay. As a rule, there are no difficulties in setting up, so if you encounter any problems, you need to check whether the connection steps are performed correctly.