You finally purchased the TV you deserve thanks to this year’s Black Friday deals. I know I did. You may have also purchased a Blu-ray player. Congratulations on joining the high definition world. If your new Blu-ray player doesn’t offer Netflix instant streaming, though, your Mac can, along with Hulu.
For the purposes of this article, I’m assuming you are using a Macbook or Macbook Pro, but the process works with desktop Macs, too, just make sure you know what kind of port your computer has. Your goal is to get both the audio and video from your computer into your TV. Unfortunately, Macs don’t have HDMI (audio and video combined) yet so we have to use two cables. Your new TV definitely has HDMI so we’ll use an adapter to make the connection.
HDMI cables are very affordable on Monoprice: High Speed HDMI 1.3a Category 2 Certified Cable 28AWG – 6ft w/Ferrite Cores. You definitely need one of these.
First you must figure out if you have Mini DVI or Mini DisplayPort. If you have a unibody Macbook or Macbook Pro then you have Mini DisplaypPrt. If you have an aluminum Macbook or Macbook Pro then you have Mini DVI. If you’re not sure then take a look at these pictures.
The adapter you need for is available here: Mini DisplayPort to HDMI. Connect the adapter to your computer and the HDMI cable, then connect the HDMI cable to an available input on your TV.
The adapter you need for Mini DVI is available here: Mini DVI to HDMI.
As for audio, you can use a basic stereo audio cable: 3.5mm Stereo Plug/Plug M/M Cable – 6ft. Connect it to your computer’s headphone port and your TV’s audio input. If your TV has an optical audio input then you can use this cable: Toslink to Mini M/M OD:5.0mm, Molded Type – 3ft. Your Macbook or Macbook Pro has a very unique audio output that offers both stereo and optical connections. Optical audio is not necessary, but if you can go digital then you should. (I was surprised to see my new TV only offers optical output and not input.)
One thing to note is on many TVs the one audio input is next to its corresponding video input.
As you can see, I purchased my HDMI cables from Amazon Basics.
Also, you are not required to use HDMI for video. You can also use DVI if your TV supports it. In that case you would need a DVI cable, and either a Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter or Mini DVI to DVI adapter.
If you want to get fancy and combine both audio and video into one simple solution then you should get this: Mini DisplayPort Male and USB Male Audio to HDMI Female Converting Adapter. It uses USB audio instead of the audio port. It’s more expensive but it’s definitely cleaner since you only need one cable going into your TV.
Netflix instant streaming requires a subscription. If you have one, you can use your web browser to start streaming a movie, click Full Screen, and you’re done.
Hulu Desktop is a free application you can use to access Hulu content. It’s designed to be controlled by the 6 button Apple (s aapl) remote which may take some time to figure out.
I recommend turning on Mirroring in Display’s System Preferences. Then you can dim the Macbook/Macbook Pro’s screen and focus on the TV.
There’s an amazing app for the iPhone (one that requires an entire review on this site) called TouchPad ($3.99, iTunes link). It replaces the need for a separate wireless keyboard and mouse. The app controls your computer over WiFi. Setup instructions are quick and are available inside the app itself, so you don’t have to go looking through an online support page.
I hope these products and services help you get the most of your Mac and your new TV. I know they’ve completely changed the way I consume media in my own home.