I recently bought a new 37" Samsung HDTV that I am extremely proud of. It is my first acquisition after I started working, so needless to say, I have wanted to make the most of it.
I also own a white Apple Mac book which I normally use for streaming movies and TV shows on Netflix. Wouldnâ€™t it be perfect to watch this on my new TV? Turns out, a little web surfing and understanding the ports on my computer and TV solved my problem.
A White Apple Mac book has a mini-DVI port. DVI, or Digital Visual Interface, is a standard video interface that carries uncompressed digital video data to a display. A mini-DVI port is a miniature version of the DVI port. It was only when I started looking around did I realize that Apple has two more display options other than the mini-DVI: The micro-DVI and the mini-Display Port. Also, it was interesting to know that the mini-DVI is being phased out by Apple, so if you intend on buying an Apple laptop or a computer, look out for one with a Display Port. It has a higher resolution (2560Ã—1600) but on the flip side, a lot of concern has been raised about its compatibility with other existing technologies. This however, was not something I had to deal with.
My Mac book came with a mini-DVI port that I could utilize. A few points of interest:
This industry standard open interface is being phased out by Apple in favor of the mini-Display Port
It does not support dual link connections for video. This limits the resolution of the video to 1920Ã—1200 @ 60Hz
The adapter for converting the mini-DVI to DVI is a proprietary cable that can be purchased only from an Apple Store for $19.00
Do note that this adapter converts mini-DVI to DVI-D and not DVI-I or DVI-A. This is a concern if your TV does not have a digital port (though most recent models come with digital ports). Since this adapter does not provide an analog output, if you wish to use your VGA port on your TV, you should buy a mini-DVI to VGA adapter and use a VGA cable to hook up to your TV.
If your TV permits only analog signals, then the S-Video port can also be considered, though the VGA would be a better option based on video quality.
Also, it is odd that Apple did not come out with a mini-DVI to HDMI adapter. This cable can be purchased elsewhere, but not having used one, I will refrain from commenting on them.
So, I bought one of these adapters from my local Apple store.
My TV has 3 HDMI ports. The next job was to buy a DVI to HDMI cable. One good place to buy cheap cables is www.monoprice.com
I was too excited to make it work, so I bought my DVI to HDMI cable from the Apple store itself. I agree it was a rip-off but sometimes you just NEED to test out your ideas immediately!
It cost me $29.95 for a 12â€™ cable. I hooked up the laptop to the TV through one of the HDMI ports (port 2 to be specific), then clicked the Source button on my remote. It should recognize the two sources that are active: TV and HDMI2/DVI. If it does not, it is time to play around with the Display settings on the laptop. Go to System Preferences -> Displays ->Detect Display. This should pop up another window for the Samsung TV. In the Arrangement tab, select Mirror Displays.
It is now time to go back to the TV and choose the HDMI2/DVI option from Source. Your desktop will be mirrored on the TV and the screen can be adjusted in size.
Unfortunately, unlike HDMI, DVI does not support audio so a separate cable needs to be used. I took the cheaper option of getting a 3.5mm to RCA cable and connected it to the Audio jacks for Port 2. If you wish to get a digital audio of higher quality, use the Toslink audio cables which can also be purchased at the Apple store for $19.95. If you have the patience to wait, my suggestion is to buy it online.
All this hooked up, I am completely ready to sit back, relax and watch high-res movies without investing in a Blu-Ray player. Some day, I might want to own a Blu-Ray, but for now, I am perfectly content with my solution. On the bright side, Google Notifier tells me when I have new emails and I can stay connected even when Iâ€™m watching a movie
- Get Up! and DIY references related to this article:
- You can get DVI to HDMI cables here:
- I did some of my research in finding out about cable types from here:
- useful information about Mac standards can be found here.
- Top 10 home theater secrets - there is also a bunch of other stuff on this site.
- Geekiest home theater setups: (they're some really amazing creations!)