I recently needed to connect a MacBook to a TV set. For most people, this is as simple as getting an adapter, plugging in their HDMI cable, and moving on. However, the TV in question is an old model, with nothing but RCA inputs.
A Google search quickly locates pages of questions regarding this same problem, with many answers and a varying level of successful solutions. I spent a good deal of time figuring out what was necessary, some time on Amazon to find products to match, and came up with something I thought would work. Maybe I got lucky, but my solution was a success, and I’m sharing it here to help anyone else in a similar situation.
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To make this work, you’ll need three things:
Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter
Download Hdmi To Rca Adapter For Tv For Mac Os Xoikos Windows 7
- Finally got around to getting a soundbar for this tv and see the need for ARC. I'd think there would be some sort of adapter out there to convert one of the HDMI inputs on the TV.
- Bcoly USB 3.0 to HDMI Adapter for PC Laptop Projector HDTV Monitor, USB 3.0/2.0 to HDMI 1080P HD Multiple Display Video Cable Adapter Converter Compatible with MAC OS, Windows 7/8/8.1/10 4.5 out of.
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This is your standard Apple adapter. If you have an older MacBook, you’ll need a Mini DVI adapter instead of the Mini DisplayPort. Find out which one your device supports and purchase accordingly.
Generic PC to TV Converter
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This is where the magic happens. Somewhere, somehow, inside this blue box, the signal from the VGA cable is converted and exported to a video RCA plug.
Stereo to RCA Cord
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The audio needs to be sent separately from your MacBook to the TV, and this will let you go directly from one to the other. You do not need this exact product, and it’s possible you can find it at a local electronics store, or even a dollar store.
Download Hdmi To Rca Adapter For Tv For Mac Os Xoikos Installer
Bringing it all together
Once you have all of your equipment, the rest of the process is basically just plugging in cords. Let’s take a look at the cords you’ll plug into your MacBook:
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On the left, you see the Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter, which is plugged into the VGA cable that comes along with the Generic PC to TV Converter. Next to it is a USB cable that powers the Generic PC to TV Converter, and comes with it. And on the right, the stereo end of the Stereo to RCA cord.
Now we look at the Converter box:
On the left is the power input, which connects to your MacBook via USB. In the middle is the yellow RCA cable which is the output we’re looking for. On the right is the VGA cable, which is plugged into the Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter on the other end.
Once everything you see here is connected, plug the yellow video cable, and the red and white audio cables into the corresponding places on the TV set. If you’re lucky, it’ll just work. If it doesn’t work right the first time, don’t panic. There are a lot of cords and connections, and you’ll need to tinker a bit. I’ll provide a couple of tips below.
If you have trouble making this work, try the following:
NTSC vs PAL
You may see a rapidly flickering screen. If this happens, look on one of the sides of the blue Generic PC to TV Converter box where you’ll find two tiny switches. Confer with the manual, but in the end I had to guess. Try flipping them both in the opposite direction.
Check the connections and TV settings
You’re dealing with at least 10 connection points. Make sure they’re all plugged in properly. Some TVs have more than one set of RCA connectors. Be sure your TV is displaying the right ones.
MacBook display settings
When you plug in the Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter, you should see a display screen icon in the top bar. Check the settings to make sure everything looks good on that end.
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Mac computers that have any of the following ports can connect to HDMI devices. Learn how to identify the ports on your Mac.
- HDMI port: Connects directly to HDMI using an HDMI cable.
- USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port: Connects to HDMI using an adapter, such as the Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter.
- Mini DisplayPort: Connects to HDMI using a third-party Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter or cable.
Mac computers that have an HDMI port comply with HDMI 1.4b and support:
- At least 1080p video over HDMI, and some Mac models support higher resolutions when connecting to 4K displays, 5K displays, and Ultra HD TVs
- 8-channel/24-bit audio at 192kHz, Dolby Surround 5.1, and traditional stereo
- HDCP-encrypted playback from iTunes and QuickTime Player (version 10). Safari in macOS Sierra or later also supports HDCP-encrypted playback, if the web page is HTML5-enabled and the content is FairPlay Streaming-enabled and delivered using Media Source Extensions or HTTP Live Streaming.
If using an adapter, check the specifications of the adapter to learn about supported resolutions and other details.
After making the connection
If your Mac doesn't recognize your HDTV, display, or other HDMI device after making the connection:
- Turn off the HDMI device while your Mac is turned on.
- Unplug the HDMI cable from your Mac, then plug it in again.
- Turn on the HDMI device.
If the video on your HDTV or display extends beyond the borders of the screen, open Displays preferences and adjust the Underscan slider for a better fit. Use any of these methods to open Displays preferences:
- Choose Apple () menu > System Preferences, then click Displays.
- Press Shift-Command-A to open the Applications folder. Then double-click System Preferences, then click Displays.
- If your keyboard has brightness controls, press Option–Brightness Up or Option–Brightness Down.
If your HDMI device isn't receiving audio from your Mac:
- Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Sound. In the Output pane, make sure that your HDMI device is selected.
- If you're connecting using a Mini DisplayPort adapter, make sure that your Mac can send audio over Mini DisplayPort.
- If you're connecting from a Mac mini, unplug any audio device that is plugged into your computer's Audio-Out port.
If your Mac goes to sleep while a video is playing or paused, you might see an HDCP error. Quit the app that is playing the video, then open the app again. If the issue continues, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Energy Saver and adjust the settings so that your display doesn't turn off.
- If your Mac has an HDMI port, you can use the Apple HDMI to DVI Adapter to connect to a DVI display.
- Mac computers don't support using CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) to control HDMI devices.