Connect Your Mac to a HDTV




 In this Instructable, I will explain in detail how to connect your MacBook, or iMac to an HDTV. There are many applications for such a setup, and the list is practically endless. Here are a few:

- Stream video from the Internet. Many sites allow you to legally watch full length episodes of TV shows. For instance, In the US you can use Hulu, in the UK you can use the iPlayer (BBC) or in Canada, watch shows on CBC. There are many other sites (although many are illegal).

- No need for a DVD player. As long as your Macintosh computer isn't the MacBook Air, it has a CD/DVD drive. This way you can watch all you're DVDs (No Bluray on Macs yet) without a DVD player.

- No need for an Apple TV. Seriously please don't dish-out a minimum $229 for an Apple TV. With Front Row (Use your apple remote or Command-Escape to access it) or Boxee you can virtually have a machine that looks and works as well as the $229 Apple TV. Also, using a Macintosh you can use services such as streaming from Netflix, Or iTunes.

-Monitor the size of your TV. Compare the size of your Laptop Screen to your TV screen. No more need to explain.

Disclaimer: I'm am not responsible. Whatsoever. Even if you spontaneously combust.

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Step 1: Cost & Where to Buy

      Although it is cheaper than an Apple TV, there are still some pretty large start-up costs (Although you'd already have made up for it, by giving up two months of Cable or Satellite service. If you buy directly from Apple, plus the audio cable from a well-known electronics dealer, like I did it will cost you about $45-50 (US).

To attach your MacBook to your TV and Maintain High Definition, you will need:

- A Macintosh Computer with a Mini Display Port  (Assumed that you already own this)
AMini DVI - DVI Adapter   Bought from Apple Here (19.95)
A DVI - HDMI Cable Bought from Apple Here (19.95 for 6ft or 29.95 for 12ft)
- AnAuxilary Cable* Bought from most electronics stores (Aim for 6ft or longer, depending on how far you audio input jack is)
- A Mouse, Keyboard (preferably wireless) or the $1.99 iPod Touch/ iPhone App "Air Mouse" or Apple Remote (used to control the computer)

UPDATE: There is a new [free] mouse/keyboard application, in the app store, for more, visit: [for what you download on your Mac/PC, and search "Touch Mouse" in the app store for the app.

*The Auxilary Cable is optional if you are happy with the sound coming from your Macintosh's internal speakers, you can leave it out of the set up, and save about $5.00

I'm sure there are cheaper options out there (eBay etc..), If you find one, use it, and it isn't junk, or a scam, let me know in The Comments, but I was looking for a good quality cable, from a store where I knew I'd be able to return it, and have it last for several years.

**Please make sure your TV has an HDMI input before you buy anything!** You can use other cables, but this instructable will focus on DVI/HDMI.

Step 2: Set-Up

 Connect the DVI to HDMI Cable into your Mini DVI to DVI cable. Connect the Mini DVI end of the adaptor into your Mac. Connect the HDMI end of your DVI to HDMI cable into your HDTV.

Follow the annotations in the photographs below for clearer instructions.

Continue to the next step for the set-up on the Computer.

Step 3: Computer Set-Up

      Once everything is plugged in, and both you Mac and HDTV are on, you may get your default desktop background picture on Your TV, or nothing at all. On your MacBook, the next step is to navigate to system Preferences, found by looking for the Apple logo on the upermost right of your Mac's screen, clicking, and selecting System Preferences in the Drop Down Menu. Now click "Displays", you will now be greeted with many more options. I advise you put your resolution at the maximum. Now in the window, click "Detect Displays". Lastly, check the Box "Show Displays in Menu Bar".
     Now there will be a little display icon in your Menu Bar. Click it and from the drop-down menu, select Mirror Displays. Your TV should now show and mimic whatever is on your laptop screen.

Now switch down the brightness on your Mac until it is off. (Short-cut on keyboard.)
For less confusing instructions, again follow the Annotations on the Photographs below.

Step 4: Audio (Optional)

 Now connect whatever audio cable you decided to use, connect to speakers, or the audio input next to your HDMI in, if you have that option. This is optional, and I personally do not usually use it. 

See annotations, and Photographs Below.

Step 5: Finished!

 Now enjoy your home-theatre Mac, and cancel your Cable and Satellite*.  You can now use your apple remote, air-mouse application (iPhone/iPod Touch), Keyboard or Mouse (Wireless or very long USB extention cable)  to navigate all your favourite media.

If I've missed something, or have a suggestion, just let me know in the comments,


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    16 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Thanks for a great article! I'd add ArkMC for iOS/Android or Mac. I use this app for streaming my pics, videos, music to different compatible devices that use dlna. It's also very comfortable because it's wireless and you don't have to use any adapters or cables.


    3 years ago


    You have to connect prijector to TV/Projector/Monitor through HDMI or VGA.
    It has inbuilt Wi-Fi hotspot,just connect your laptop to Prijector Wi-Fi hotspot
    and download small app from device.and run the app
    it will mirror the entire screen of your laptop

    It supports complete mirroring of iPad/iPhone, Windows, Linux, Android Devices, Blackberry to a TV/Projector .


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Why do you need two different adapters? Can't you just get a Mini DVI to HDMI cable? Also, I want to make this workaround because my MacBook monitor has crapped out. Any suggestions on getting it to display on the TV without having to fiddle with the settings? If not I guess I could always use Target mode with my daughter's MacBook (but that's a hassle—she's so busy!)

    Thanks for the how-to!

    geekazoidMr. Squishy

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    That's true, and I've heard great things about it. Although at $149.99, it is a bit on the expensive side... It would be good if you were to use it very regularly, although personally, I'd rather buy a second-hand iPod Touch for the same amount, which can do the same thing [with touch mouse by the same company, available free], and have other uses. I guess it all really depends.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I have a Mac Mini, a laptop, a wireless Mac Keyboard and an iTouch but not sure how that all relates to this discussion. I am just trying to figure out how to hook up either my laptop or my mac Mini to my Big Screen HDTV. My husband and I are currently both unemployed for him it has been 2 years and now 3 years for me.
    I am tired of the cable company and their big damned bills and I don't want a contract as I would have to have with Satellite, but I live in the middle of nowhere in the remote rural mountains of southern New Mexico so we can get maybe Fox, CBS, and ABC with an expensive outdoor antenna. We can't even get NBC. Any ideas? I have the cable connector shown as it goes into my flat screen for the Mac Mini. I think I even have an extra connector. So tell me what is the iTouch connection. I gave my husband a iTouch but he doesn't do electronics or computers and I don't think he has ever used it so I would be willing to take it away from him to use it for TV connectivity/

    Mr. Squishygeekazoid

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     I cant get Touch Mouse because I kive outside the US, but I got air mouse which is much better,


    8 years ago on Introduction

    for people who have an android phone - theres an app called RemoteDroidServer - just follow the instructions
    it lets you control your computer from your phone. like a wireless mouse and keyboard but your phone. :)

    Mr. Squishy

    9 years ago on Step 1

     They just released an update for it which provides smother tracking with the trackpad. Much better than it was before.

    1 reply