Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Gadgets and Digital Lifestyle

Like this article? We recommend

Like this article? We recommend

Connecting Your Mac to Your TV

All current (and many older) Mac models can be easily connected to a television and/or sound system for audiovisual content. In the past, displaying computer output on a television involved purchasing a relatively pricey scan converter or video card support TV output and sacrificing much of the quality of a computer display. Thankfully, things have changed in the past few years.

If you own a digital TV, particularly a flat-screen plasma or LCD model, chances are that you can simply attach your Mac to it. Many digital TVs include support for DVI- or VGA-style video input. Others include support for HDMI, a next-generation video connector. You might need to use an appropriate adapter for the DVI output included on current Mac models. Apple has, however, made this process relatively simple. All shipping Macs include a DVI-to-VGA adapter (traditionally used for connection to an older or less-expensive monitor). A DVI-to-HDMI adapter is also available from Apple (as well as other companies) if you need it.

In many cases, you can simply attach the appropriate cables, and Mac OS X will adapt its display settings to match the TV. With some models, however, Mac OS X might not be able to automatically determine the optimal video resolution and color calibration for your TV or that your TV might require a resolution not supported by Mac OS X. In these cases, you might need to manually adjust the resolution of your Mac using the Displays pane in System Preferences and figure out the appropriate resolution by trial and error. Likewise, you might need to use the Display’s pane to create a custom Colorsync profile for your TV. Apple provides additional information, including information on selecting the appropriate resolution for a digital TV on its Mac mini accessories page (although this applies to all Macs with a DVI port). If you find that you cannot set Mac OS X to an appropriate resolution, DisplayConfigX is an inexpensive utility that adds support for a broader range of resolutions than is available in Mac OS X by default.

If you have an analog CRT television, you can still connect your Mac to your TV without much effort or expense. Apple sells a $19 DVI-to-video adapter that provides both S-Video and composite (RCA) video output. The quality provided by this adapter is surprisingly good for its price (comparable to many higher-priced scan converters). It also offers DVI-to-TV video outputs as opposed to scan converters, which require converting from DVI to VGA before converting to S-Video composite video.

Keep in mind, however, that CRT televisions process data at lower resolutions and quality than virtually all computer displays (be they CRT or LCD). Although the resulting video from Apple’s adapter is more than fine for Front Row, with its oversized fonts and graphics), you will notice that for general computer use, the quality is below almost any computer monitor and likely to cause eyestrain (that is, this adapter is for home entertainment, not using an analog TV as a replacement monitor).

There is another option for those with the money and ample wall space: using an AV projector and either a projection screen or a blank wall as your display. If you choose a good-quality projector, this approach can really give you a movie theater experience at home like little else. As the cost of projectors has come down, they have become an affordable option for home theater systems. Many projectors offer multiple inputs, and several models today include DVI as an input option. Virtually all offer VGA, and most also offer either S-Video or composite video. Although projectors by themselves offer no TV capabilities, most digital cable and satellite receivers offer various video output options (check with your provider). Also, third-party solutions such as eyeTV (discussed in part 2 of this series) can offer you the ability to use your Mac as a TV receiver.

As far as audio goes, all current and recent Macs include audio output that can be connected to speakers, TV inputs, or a home theatre stereo receiver. The lineup of Intel Macs, along with Macs that were introduced late last year, support both a one-eighth-inch miniplug connector (such as that used by standard headphones and computer speakers) as well as optical digital audio output. Previous Mac models typically supported only the miniplug. Adapters are readily available to convert a standard miniplug output to stereo outputs. However, they do not offer the full surround sound support offered by digital audio, although many stereo receivers and other devices that support surround sound can approximate the effect when receiving analog audio input.

Whatever type of TV you are connecting your Mac to, keep in mind that Front Row is only displayed on a Mac’s primary display. If you are working with a Mac mini and your TV alone, this is not an issue because the TV will be the primary display. However, if you are using a MacBook, MacBook Pro, or iMac, the internal display will be considered the primary display. In such a situation, the default solution will be to mirror the same display across both the internal and external displays. Macs do, however, support using multiple monitors as extensions of a single Desktop or working space. If you choose to use a Mac in this fashion, you will need to designate the TV as the primary display, which contains the Dock and menu bar, for Front Row to display on it.

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive:

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020