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MacBook owners rejoice: Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter soon

MacBook owners rejoice: Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter soon

An upcoming video adapter will allow new unibody MacBooks and MacBook Pros (and refreshed MacBook Airs) to be connected directly to high definition television sets.

Since Apple introduced the new aluminum MacBooks and MacBook Pros a couple months ago, there has been a lot of uncertainty and frustration over the consequences of DisplayPort being the only video-out option offered on the notebooks. Not only DisplayPort, but an Apple-customized variation of the open standard called Mini DisplayPort. What this means for users is that the only way to connect these new laptops to an external display at the moment would be through Apple’s own adapters — currently limited to Mini DisplayPort to VGA ($29.99), Mini DisplayPort to DVI ($29.99), and Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI ($99.99).

So how do you push video out from that shiny new MacBook to your big, beautiful high definition TV? As of right now, there’s no optimal way to do it. Sure, you can use Apple’s adapters if your TV supports VGA or DVI, but some models do not have these connectors. Not to mention the fact that VGA is not compatible with the HDCP copy-protection measures incorporated into the latest MacBooks. When viewing high definition content on an external screen (once it becomes available from the iTunes Store in the future, for example), you must use a digital signal (VGA is analog).

Don’t get too riled up — Apple is not the only one adding HDCP to their products. Any manufacturer who intends on marketing their products as HD-capable (including monitors, TVs, Blu-Ray drives, etc.) is forced to integrate HDCP to appease the movie industry’s crooked ways. No, it’s not fair to legally-paying consumers, but nothing’s going to change their minds. No HDCP, no high definition content. Some folks have reportedly had luck going from Mini DisplayPort to DVI and then getting a second adapter that converts the DVI to HDMI. Quite frankly, while this fixes the HDCP issue, it is an unacceptable workaround. Nobody wants crippled functionality (especially with such high-priced equipment), so a direct solution should be available.

Luckily, the news last week that Apple is offering free licenses for hardware builders to incorporate Mini DisplayPort into their products means that its use will eventually become more widespread over time. Additional computers, displays, and accessories from third party vendors will support this standard in the (hopefully near) future and gradually replace the now-outdated VGA and DVI connections.

I have already been in contact with at least one company that plans to solve the Macbook to HDTV issue. MonoPrice.com, a wholesale distributor of computer cables and accessories based in California, has informed me that Apple fans are on their radar and a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI video adapter is on the way. “Yes, we will carry this item soon. However, it won’t be available until end of January 2009 or so,” a company representative said via email.

This is great news for anybody looking to hook up a new Apple notebook to their HDTV without patching together a mess of video cables and adapters. Keep in mind that since Apple’s iteration of Mini DisplayPort reportedly only supports video signals, a separate audio cable will be necessary to route sound to the TV. These are usually fairly cheap and widely available at most electronics stores. While it would have been nice for Apple to have this video accessory available back in October when the new MacBooks were introduced, there was no certainty when or if one was in the pipeline at all. Now that we know a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter is coming, the only thing left to do is eagerly wait for the end of January to roll around…

UPDATE – February 11, 2009: Finally, an announcement has been made and the wait is over! Well, almost. MonoPrice.com will begin shipping their Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter on March 15th for only $14.25! It’s a little later than expected, but that excellent low price makes up for the wait. There’s still no word on whether it will support sound, though. As if that weren’t enough, MonoPrice is also offering DVI and VGA adapters at prices much lower than the ones offered by Apple. Nice, right?

UPDATE #2 – March 29, 2009: Monoprice is still planning on making their adapters available soon, but they have let their shipping dates slip. As of today they are saying March 30th is the estimated time of arrival, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that change again. In the meantime, Amazon.com has a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter available for sale now through their 3rd party resellers, with some claiming immediate shipping.

UPDATE #3 – July 10, 2009: Although the first round of Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapters released earlier this year did not support audio, a new product from Kanex does! It grabs video from the Mini DisplayPort connector and audio from the USB connector, then packs it all up for HDMI to bring to the HDTV. Read more about Kanex’s new adapter for information on availability.

UPDATE #4 – October 16, 2009: Check out our review of the Kanex Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter with digital audio, which is available online now!

47 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

not to sound anti-apple or anything… but what is with the propietary stuff and apple, i know that apple always go for the best but why not go for the standards, i mean i love macs (the hardware i mean.. not to fond of the os i prefer linux) they’re beautiful and work like a charm but, the thing that bugs me is the lack of freedom it carries.. i mean you have to depend entirely on apple on everything…that display port takes me back to times when everything had to be specially designed for macs… that for me is a deterrent point…especially in a pc world. still, i love apple products and the company’s commitment to quality and design
but to me it seems a little to closed for their own good…

Is there also a way coming to connect a regular displayport screen? (i have one of those ugly dell 30″ screens over here)

Or if you are like me and can’t wait till the end of next month, just get the Mini DisplayPort to DVI and buy a DVI to HMDI cable. I got mine for less than $20 and it is 5 metres long!

Just a thought

Or you can just go get yourself a 10′ DVI to HDMI cable, seeing as you’re going to need a cable to connect to the TV anyway. I’ve got a 3′er to connect my Gateway 16×9 LCD to my DVD player, and yes, HDCP works over DVI so long as the devices that are connected support it.

@Ed O’Keeffe,
does your audio work with that setup through the hdmi as well? I’m looking to just go displayport to dvi. dvi to hdmi into the tv. i’ve read the audio will not work through the tv this way though. any thoughts?

Trza,

Unfortunately, DVI doesn’t carry audio with the video. Even if Mini DisplayPort supported audio (which most people are saying it doesn’t), routing it through a Mini DP to DVI and DVI to HDMI setup would cut it off in the middle.

no audio over dvi or vga, i assume that the display port doesn’t output it. what apple should do is bundle the display to hdmi paired with a 3.5MM jack to stereo rca. Most all tv’s have some sort of back up analog audio for some sort of digital (usually dvi) input. Anyway have fun with those new unibody’s mac fanboys!! Apple gets a few more of your $$ the easy way…

Is there also a way coming to connect a regular displayport screen? (i have one of those ugly dell 30″ screens over here)…

i had an email exchange with the GM of Monoprice.com…he originally told me they _weren’t_ going to make a Mini DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter because it wouldn’t be able to get HDMI audio output. i explained to him we MacBook/Pro users would still benefit from not having to chain adapters together to get the video out over HDMI (and send audio through the TOSLink or the mini jack). sounds like i made a good case for it and he’s back on board with manufacturing the cable.

you should request 2 styles of adapter:

1) Video only miniDP to HDMI (as you describe)

2) Audio and Video to HDMI. Imagine a little headphone plug dangling off the side and some type of circitry that can incorporate the audio stream into the HDMI signal (i.e. one side =hdmi, the other = miniDP & Stereo plug).

I’m not sure if this is possible, and I guess HDCP would probably be an issue…

“but what is with the propietary stuff and apple”
In response to latincrow81. I am not one to rush to the defense of any corporation, however, DisplayPort is not proprietary. It is an open, royalty-free, standard.

My gripe is that neither Apple, nor ANYONE (that I can find), has an adapter to connect this directly to HDMI, Composite, Component, or SVideo.
Using the DVI connector is a cool bandage, but I’d rather not hodge-podge this together. Sheesh. All in the name of progress… I guess… Huzza ‘n stuff.

First of all, the MDP to Dual-Link DVI adapter is NOT available. It’s been “shipping in 4-5 weeks” for about two months now.

Second, using a DVI to HDMI adapter is hardly a workaround. Since there isn’t a Macbook out there with HDMI-out, I have to assume that you were using one before the new Macbooks came out. Buy an adapter and keep using it.

My company is also currently working on a number of MDP adapters (MDP to DP has been a popular request), but these things take time. I wouldn’t expect to see much before at least February.

Or if you are like me and can’t wait till the end of next month, just get the Mini DisplayPort to DVI and buy a DVI to HMDI cable. I got mine for less than $20 and it is 5 metres long!!

does your audio work with that setup through the hdmi as well? I’m looking to just go displayport to dvi. dvi to hdmi into the tv. i’ve read the audio will not work through the tv this way though. any thoughts??

I’m confused. If I have a new MacBook with mini displayport and get a mdp to hdmi converter to hook up to a new hdmi plasma, can I play *any* movie from QuickTime or VLC? Not talking about bought iTunes content, just ripped DVDs and torrented tv eps. Can anyone help?

Nathan,

Yes, you would be able to play anything in your situation because Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, and your plasma TV all support HDCP. Even if they didn’t, the content you’re playing in Quicktime or VLC would play anyway since it doesn’t have HDCP copy protection in the first place. I hope this helps clear things up.

@ant. thanks for response. :)

So, I have a Pioneer 5070 plasma and a new Macbook pro 15″. I watch HD movies/tv eps on my Macbook pro.

I need to set it up so I’m thinking – for now – Mini DP to DVI and DVI to HDMI….but….I’m not sure how the heck I’d do the audio. I’m a fish out of water with the audio stuff. I have a Yamaha 6190b 7.1 w/HDMI hookups receiver with surround sound, so I want the best sound possible. Can anyone offer any advice since it sounds like the Mini DP to HDMI that will likely come out won’t help the audio.

For any of you folks following this thread, or trying to go from macbook to your TV, I just bought a mini dvi to hdmi adapter ($15.85) and an hdmi cable from
http://store.pchcables.com/midvitohdad.html.

It works great, but you need a head phone to stereo audio jack to either your tv or stereo for sound

They have them in stock now Jan. 2, 2009

Referring to Mighty 1′s comment:
1) Video only miniDP to HDMI (as you describe)

2) Audio and Video to HDMI. Imagine a little headphone plug dangling off the side and some type of circitry that can incorporate the audio stream into the HDMI signal (i.e. one side =hdmi, the other = miniDP & Stereo plug).

I’m not sure if this is possible, and I guess HDCP would probably be an issue…

Yes there is a cable that is DVI-D with Audio to HDMI with Audio not with the mini-DP not yet anyways…but it will be soon. Sometimes it is easier said than done it may sound easy but it would need alot of R&D and then Tooling and Cable Extruding, volume in the cables itself all comes to play with the amount of money a company would have to invest in. On the DVI-D to HDMI cable there is a 3.5mm or 2 RCA as your analog audio sticking out of the side and it will give a Full Digital 1080p resolution picture. Check out the website for a full detail and description at http://www.awgcables.com

Thinking of buying a macbook pro… Will the the computer and the cable configurations talked about here support a 40 to 50 inch 1080p lcdtv or just up to 30in like the apple site talks about? Thanks

Chris,

The MacBook Pro will support 1080p TVs with no problem. The size of the display doesn’t really matter – it’s the resolution that plays a role. Since 1080p is 1920×1080 pixels and the 30″ Cinema Display is 2560×1600 pixels, the 40″-50″ TV is actually easier to handle than the 30″ LCD.

Hi, the point that I didn’t understand is for now if we use MDP to DVI and DVI to HDMI adaptors and cables we get the video playing on our HDTV with 1920*1080 pixels but without the audio isn’t it? So is it possible to get both video and audio and what should we buy for it?

Thanks for your patience and attention

Ugh… I’m a long time PC user and have always flirted with Macs but held back because of this exact kind of situation. Do it the Apple way (be that using a rare open source standard or proprietary) or hit the highway. Oh yes, and pay through the nose for it! I was literally in the Apple store set to buy a Macbook Pro when I got to the section on Miniport adapters and started a new tab to figure out what I need (which led me to this discussion). And it’s sounding kinda ridiculous! I have all kinds of devices I want to hook this laptop up to… from a VGA monitor on my desk to a DVI monitor at work to a 50″ HDMI TV to a 27″ S-video/RCA TV at the cottage. And I need HOW many adapters? By the sounds of it, ALL of them (around $200)! And even with them all I need a DVI-HDMI adapter plus TOSLink cable for the TV (I’m not even sure the MacBook Pro has TOSLink since everyone keeps talking about miniplug). And for the older TV I think I’m plain screwed. Is there any way to get RCA or S-Video out? A major role for this laptop will be a portable way to play back media in a number of different locations (I’m also not thrilled about the lack of a BluRay option but that’s another topic) and I’m starting to wonder if this is the right laptop for the job. Will all this DVI stuff work with Bootcamped XP? i.e. Will XP under Bootcamp recognize an external monitor using DVI? I know, I know, XP sucks yadda yadda and chances are I won’t use it much but just a thought. Buying $200 in adapters for limited or restricted (e.g. S-Video) functionality is, to use an old term, lame. :) I guess my Macbook Pro will sit in the cart for a few more days while I ponder… again… if this is the right time to make the switch.

Crap, I meant to write “MDP” instead of “DVI” the last 2 times. Apologies!

Had a DVIxHDMI cable I used with a projector. Bought a MDP x DVI adapter from Apple store today and gave it a try to my new Pioneer 5020 over MDPxDVIxHDMI….which BTW is how I used to connect projector to my satellite box.

Works great. Picture is all digital so there’s no loss. As other poster pointed out, 1900×1200 is *yawn* for new MBPro.

I was watching an HD stream from Fox of 24 (Free by the way) and surfing on the MBPro’s screen at same time.

I’ve already dropped cable and was going to buy Tivo…now I may just skip that and use MBPro for everything until Apple releases new Mac Mini with same GPU.

Really, adapters aren’t a big deal, don’t know what the fuss is about.

I read this article with interest of Apple coming out with a mini displayport to HDMI. I called Apple today to see if this was soon in the future…. and got an extremely rude representative who said there was no such thing or plan in place. Made me reconsider my choice of purchase (Macbook) if the customer service was so non-existent and full of ATTITUDE! I don’t want to be cabling up adapters for what should be a straight shot to my TV…and such a simple thing! I’m really disappointed in the proprietary “ports” and the additional cost which I consider a bit excessive. This is my first Apple laptop… lesson learned I guess.

Any news about the mini display port to hdmi adaptor?
I went to the applestore and they said it would proabely come out soon…

I sent another message to monoprice and will report back with feedback. In the meantime, since I have the mdp to dvi, I might get the dvi to hdmi cable to see how it works on my hdtv.

Thank you, Ivan.

looks like monoprice.com has the adapter now. correct?

I just contacted Monoprice b/c I saw the adapater for the mini DisplayPort to HDMI on their site. I got on the live chat and according the Tech support person they moved me to, they DO have audio support (chat pasted below)…must be a separate audio cable then.

Chat transcript:

TS – Mr. Rene E (Level 1): Thank you for contacting Monoprice Tech Support. My name is Rene. How may I be able to assist you?
you: I saw that the mini DisplayPort to HDMI cable is on sale, and shipping on 3/15, but I want to know if it also includes an audio cable as well.

you: Or do I have to buy an audio on separtely. I didn’t see an image up there yet of the new cable

TS – Mr. Rene E (Level 1): unfortunately we have not received any yet, so we have not had a chance to test them out

TS – Mr. Rene E (Level 1): sorry for the inconvenience

you: but you’re selling them already. how are you selling them if you haven’t even seen them yet?

you: is there a manufacturer name that I can contact to find out if audio is availabe on it?

you: ?

TS – Mr. Rene E (Level 1): i just received confirmation from my supervisor and they do support audio as well

you: really? Awesome!

Thanks for sharing, Scott! As much as I’d like to believe them, I’m not sure we can trust the word of a single tech support rep. I just tried contacting them myself and was told they have no information about the product whatsoever. The person I chatted with wouldn’t divulge anything further. Let’s hope the rep you talked to was right!

Chat InformationPlease wait for a site operator to respond.
Chat InformationYou are now chatting with ‘TS – Howard H (Level 3)’
TS – Howard H (Level 3): Thank you for contacting Monoprice Tech Support. My name is Howard. How may I be able to assist you?
you: i have a question
you: i need to go from Mini Displayport to HDMI
you: how would i be able to do this?
TS – Howard H (Level 3): use PID# 5311
TS – Howard H (Level 3): we’ll get some in on 03/15/09
you: will it include audio?
TS – Howard H (Level 3): the mac’s won’t support audio on the video port.
you: so i will need to get a different cable to audio?
TS – Howard H (Level 3): yes
you: ok, thank you

DO you know if the miniport – HDMI adapter will push resolutions higher than 1900×1200??

for example a 30″ dell screen?

Mario,
Thanks for sharing the transcript from your chat with MonoPrice. Unfortunately, this is what I suspected. It’s unfortunate they couldn’t get audio to work, but I’m sure this is a fundamental Mini DisplayPort problem and not due to a lack of effort on their part.

MBP,
This could go either way. To the best of my knowledge, HDMI 1.3 can support resolutions of up to 2560×1600 while earlier versions top out at 1900×1200. It depends on what your device supports.

I’m not the same Scott H as above =)

From their website:

(http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=104&cp_id=10428&cs_id=1042802&p_id=5311&seq=1&format=2)

———————————

Estimated Time Arrival: 3/27/2009

Max Supported Resolution – 1920x1080p, 12-bits / channel, or 12*3 = 36bits on all channels.

*NOTE* AUDIO: This adapter will support audio only if your source device allows audio output through the Mini DisplayPorts interface. If you’re not sure, please check with the manufacturer or website, to confirm if your device allows audio out through the Mini-DP interface.
———————————

Hope this clears up any confusion.

Great to hear this adapter is finally coming out! To echo what Anthony wrote:

Will XP under Bootcamp recognize an external monitor using DVI?

I bought a Mini Display Port to HDMI and got it today!
Friggin awesome Plug in and Play!
Honestly only a tenner from Ebay Hong Kong!
Dangerous i know – but worth it!
Ive had no problems and have crystal HD shows on my Sony Bravia HDTV streaming from my MacBook.
SWEET!

im planning to buy a macbook pro but i’d need a blu ray writer and hdmi output to easily connect to my hd tv.
why no hdmi output instead of that dummy minidp or BESIDE that?
hdmi is the most common interface nowadays and blu ray drive for hd content also the standard. they are hand in hand at some laptom manufacturers like sony.
i’d buy a new(2010) model mbp if this 2 important thing would be adapted.
the big question is when? and why not already?
hmm?

i mean my big problem is that messy thing with separating audio and video. it should be put together. thats hdmi for. and its not new…

i’m having a problem with the MDP->HDMI adaptors from two suppliers (eforcity and PCT). When I have my brand new macbook pro 15″ plugged in with the mini displayport to dvi OR hdmi OR MDP->dvi->hdmi – I get intermittent problems as follows. After the computer goes to sleep and wakes up there are a variety of problems. Sometimes it recovers, sometimes it freezes and wont wake even after disconnecting the external monitor. Sometimes it cycles through black, blue and dithered looking screen in what looks like an attempt to match the display but it will do this endlessly. I may have finally gotten some success by using a mini displayport to rgb. But what is the point of having all this fancy and expensive hardware if we are back in analog RGB land?

Another possibly related problem – when I have an external monitor plugged in AND the audio jack plugged into my stereo – I get terrible noise on the audio line which ruins any movie watching experience. So basically this brand new MBP is useless for watching movies on my home entertainment system. Which is a real drag.

Ive been reading about problems similar to the 1st one but have yet to hear of the second one. Ive been trying every combination of adaptor and plug and power setting i can think of to troubleshoot this problem. I even have a 2 year old MBP with the older full dvi slot and it has none of these symptoms using the same external hardware and adaptors (excepting the mini displayport adaptor which obviously would not work with my older MBP)

Apple needs to step up to the plate and find a solution because external monitors are a must for many mac users. I have a full Apple Care plan along with my laptop all purchased only a month ago so im hoping that working with my local apple store will resolve these issues.

Good news guys, the new 2010 Macbook Pro now supports audio out via display port.

As a result Dr. Bott created a new MiniDisplay port to HDMO adapter that outputs both audio and video on a single HDMO cable..

cool eh?

source: http://www.machoe.com/4096/dr-bott-releases-new-mini-display-port-to-hdmi-adapter-for-the-2010-macbook-pros.html

Got the MiniDisplay port to HDMI adapter and passes video & audio:

http://www.shaggymac.com/

Found a great place for good prices on mini displayport to hdmi

http://www.laptop2tv.co.uk/apple-cables/mini-displayport-to-hdmi/

I bought a Mini Display Port to HDMI and got it works great. Problem solved!

Due to the advance technology , there are different ways to connect MacBook to the new , b’ful HD television…Everything has pros and cons…Your blog will really help me in purchasing a Display port to HDMI….Thanks alot for the post….

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