How to Connect a MacBook Pro to a TV

by Mark Applegate Google

    One of the most exciting things to happen to consumer electronics in this generation is the ability to connect your computer to your home television for video streaming or everyday computing. The MacBook Pro offers a very crisp, yet small screen that begs to be transferred to that beautiful television in your living room. There are several ways to connect your Mac to your TV with accessories that are readily available at a local consumer electronics store.

    HDMI Options

    Use an HDMI cable to connect your MacBook Pro to your TV if each have an available port. HDMI boasts HDTV-quality picture and high-quality audio all on one cable for many models. If your MacBook Pro does not support HDMI audio, purchase a 2.5-mm cable to connect from the MacBook to the 2.5mm-audio input port on the television. If your MacBook Pro was made before 2013, you will likely need a Mini DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter to utilize this cable. Regardless of which of these two options you employ, your MacBook will automatically recognize your connection and will send your video signal through the cable. Press your "Input" or "Source" button on your television remote to find the HDMI option and your video and audio will immediately be available.

    Mini DisplayPort-to-VGA or -DVI Adapter

    If you have a television without the HDMI option, use VGA or DVI instead. Your MacBook Pro may have an available VGA or DVI output port from which to hook a cable directly to your television. If not, purchase a Mini DisplayPort-to-VGA adapter and a VGA cable to accomplish the same purpose. If your television doesn't automatically receive the signal through your VGA port, navigate to system preferences and click "Displays" and then "Detect Displays" to make your MacBook search for the external display. Similarly, you can also use a Mini DisplayPort-to-DVI adapter in the same fashion if your television has this port. Connect your 2.5-mm cable from the MacBook audio output port to the television's input port to receive the audio signal.

    Streaming With Apple TV

    You can also connect your MacBook Pro to your TV using an Apple TV streaming device if your MacBook was made in early 2011 or later. Connect your Apple TV box to your television using its included cables and connect your MacBook directly to the Apple TV using an Ethernet cable or wirelessly over a Wi-Fi connection. When a MacBook shares a network with an Apple TV, it automatically initializes an AirPlay Mirroring option in the menu bar that you can select to display your picture. You can also navigate to "System Preferences" and click "Displays." If these options are not available, your MacBook does not support the feature.

    Earlier Models

    If you have an older television that does not offer VGA support, you can purchase a VGA-to-Component adapter. Connect this adapter to your MacBook's Mini DisplayPort-to-VGA adapter and cycle through your television's input selections until you find "Component" or "RGB" to display video. Connect your 2.5-mm stereo audio cable from your MacBook Pro audio output port to your television's audio input port. If your television does not have a 2.5-mm audio input, purchase a 2.5-mm-to-composite audio adapter cable to hook to your composite audio input jacks on your television.

    About the Author

    Based in Bolivar, Mo., Mark Applegate has been a professional writer since 2003. He earned a Master of Business Administration from Colorado Technical University and currently serves as the information technology director at a local public school.

    Photo Credits

    • Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images