Hooking Up a MacBook to TV: What You Need

Hooking a MacBook up to a TV is a simple procedure that allows you to share the video or information on your MacBook on a TV.

Depending on the MacBook that you own, you may need to buy an adapter for this, but with a MacBook Pro with Retina display you will only need the right cable.

There is also an option to do this wirelessly with most MacBooks, if you also own an Apple TV. You don’t need this $99 device for hooking a MacBook to TV sets or HDTV sets, but the option to wirelessly stream your MacBook screen on a HDTV is very handy.

Your guide to connecting a MacBook to a TV.

Your guide to connecting a MacBook to a TV.

The first thing you need to do is figure out which MacBook you own. If you own a Macbook Air or MacBook Pro without a Retina display, you will need to purchase an adapter that turns the Thunderbolt or Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter. You can buy these from the Apple Store for around $30 to $40 or on Amazon for $9.99. If you are using a MacBook made before 2010, you will need to use a second audio cable as the Mini Displayport does not carry audio to the HDMI cable through the adapter.

If you own a MacBook Pro with Retina Display, there is already a HDMI port on the right side of your MacBook Pro with Retina display to connect the HDMI cable to.

If you own a MacBook Air  MacBook Pro you will need a mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter.

If you own a MacBook Air MacBook Pro you will need a mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter.

Advertisement

This small and affordable adapter turns the tiny Thunderbolt or mini DisplayPort into a full size HDMI port that you can connect any standard HDMI cable to and then also to your HDTV.

If you choose to use this method for hooking up a MacBook to TV using an HDMI cable, you can do this with any standard HDMI cable. On your HDTV, you will need to press the HDMI or Input selection until you see your MacBook screen on the HDTV. From here you can watch videos, show photos and more.

It is also possible to connect a MacBook to a TV without wires if you own an Apple TV. The Apple TV is a small $99 box that connects to your HDTV with a HDMI cable and to your home network with WiFi or an Ethernet cable. The Apple TV lets users rent and buy movies on iTunes, stream video through apps like Netflix, Hulu Plus and others — and to connect a MacBook to a TV.

If you own a MacBook Pro with Retina Display you can connect to a TV with an HDMI cable without an adapter.

If you own a MacBook Pro with Retina Display you can connect to a TV with a HDMI cable without an adapter.

When you connect the Apple TV and the MacBook to the same network, you can use AirPlay to display your Mac screen on your HDTV without any wires coming off the MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

On your Mac, click on the small AirPlay symbol in the upper right area of your screen. It looks like a small rectangle with a triangle below it, half inside of it. After you click on it, you should see your Apple TV listed. You can click on this to mirror your MacBook display to the HDTV. This will show exactly what is in your MacBook display on your Apple TV and HDTV.

These are the easiest and most full-featured options for connecting a MacBook to a TV. You can also buy a ChromeCast for $35 and “Cast” a tab to the HDTV through the small ChromeCast device. This only shows Chrome, and will not work on other apps or a desktop.

Advertisement