If you want an extra-big monitor for your MacBook or Macintosh PC that comes with their own built-in sound system, why not connect your MacBook to a TV? You can duplicate the screen of your MacBook to your TV through wired and wireless ways, like with any other PC-type device.
It’s easiest to do on an Apple TV though. Next, you have compatible brands that allow duplication. Let’s now discuss how to connect MacBook to the TV. It’s easier to do than you think.
How to Connect MacBook to TV?
You can use a USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 to HDMI or DVI adapter in order to connect your MacBook computer to an HDMI-type television set, a flatscreen HDTV, or a smart TV like Apple TV. Speaking of which, smart TVs can use Airplay in order to mirror or duplicate the MacBook screen on your HDTV.
You can even get fancy with it and extend the screen and use the television as a second monitor along with your first monitor or laptop monitor. To connect with older MacBook models, you’ll need a mini-DP or DisplayPort connection in the form of an HDMI adapter.
This mostly works with adapters because you’ll have to do even more finagling to make an old cathode-ray tube television work with a modern-day MacBook Pro or MacBook Air.
Why Connect Your MacBook to Your TV?
You don’t need to buy a Roku Stick or Amazon Fire TV Stick if you can view Netflix or Hulu as well as Amazon Prime Video through your mirrored MacBook screen on your monitor-like TV. Or you can play PC games at faster frame rates than game consoles while using your HDTV as a monitor.
You can even browse the web, do your reports, have video or “Zoom” conferences via television, and so forth at the comfort of your own home HD television.
The first thing you need to do in order to establish a MacBook to HDTV connection is to check for compatibility and video support info.
- Check Mac Compatibility: To check your MacBook’s compatibility with external video hardware like your HDTV, select the Apple logo on the screen’s top-left corner then select “About This Mac”. In the popup message, click on “Support” and then “Specification”.
- Webpage with Compatibility Info: You should end up on a webpage giving you info on your MacBook’s external video capabilities on the section known as “Video Support”. This will give you info on whether your specific HDTV is even compatible wit your laptop.
- Computer Monitors vs. HDTVs: Dedicated computer monitors tend to have fewer issues connecting with your Apple laptop. Just link the HDMI with the laptop via the right cable and boom, you’re good to go. They’re designed for the purpose and offer better resolutions too.
Monitors are designed to be viewed up close while TVs are designed to be viewed from far away. Sometimes you need to activate cursor trails just to see the mouse cursor on your bigger HDTV display.
How to Connect a Mac to a TV with a Cable
Here’s how you should connect a MacBook to a TV via cable.
- Older MacBooks Need Older Cables: As discussed above, an older MacBook with a Thunderbolt, mini-DP, or HDMI output requires the right cable for the job. If it’s HDMI, you’re home-free but if it’s DisplayPort or Thunderbolt you’ll need some sort of HDMI cable adapter.
- HDMI-Out to HDMI-In: Media sources like DVD players and laptops have HDMI-Out or output ports while display devices like monitors, HDTVs, and projectors have HDMI-In or input ports. You can’t connect two HDMI-Out media devices together (e.g., DVD to laptop).
- Link Together Than Fix Settings: Link your MacBook to TV by USB-C/Thunderbolt-3/mini-HDMI/mini-DP to HDMI cable. Then on your HDTV, switch to the port being used (HDMI1, HDMI2, and so forth). On your Mac, hit the Apple logo and go to “System Preferences”.
- Setting Up System Preferences: On “System Preferences”, navigate towards “Displays” and click on it. On the following window after that, make sure to select the “Default for Display” option to give you the best choice in a mirrored display.
- Default for Display Does the Job for You: “Default for Display” allows your MacBook to detect your TV and choose the best settings for it. What’s more, most HDTVs can play audio from your MacBook via the HDMI cable as well, but you still need to setup the sound options for it.
- HDTV Audio Options for MacBook: Go to “System Preferences” again and then click on “Sound. Select the connected TV from a list. If you have an older MacBook or older TV, you might need to connect the two devices through the Mac’s headset jack to enable audio).
How to Wirelessly Connect a MacBook to a Smart TV
Newer Macs and Apple TVs make screen mirroring quite easy via Airplay. You won’t have to worry about HDCP doing blocks on your HDTV content because Apple TV is trusted by any Apple-based device as a non-pirating streaming device.
Just go to your MacBook’s Apple Logo, click to get “System Preferences”, click “Displays”, and then select the TV from your taskbar for “Airplay Display”. If you wish to mirror your Mac without Apple TV, you need mirroring apps or devices like Chromecast to work with your TV brand.
In the case of Samsung TVs, you can get from the App Store the “SmartThing” app. In the case of Sony TVs, get the “AirBeamTV” app. You can use Google in order to search various specific apps that allow clean screen mirroring from your MacBook to your HDTV via a wireless connection.
How to connect MacBook Air to TV?
Connecting a MacBook Air to a TV can be done in a few steps.
- First, connect one end of the video cable (or an adapter, if necessary) to the computer’s Thunderbolt port, HDMI port, or DVI port.
- Second, connect the other end of the cable to the TV’s video input port.
- Once you have done this, your MacBook Air and tv should be connected and you should be able to view whatever is on your MacBook Air screen on your tv.
- Keep in mind that you may need to adjust your TV’s settings in order to get the best picture quality possible.
How to connect a MacBook to Samsung TV?
JustStream is an application that allows users to mirror their macOS screen onto a Samsung TV.
- To use JustStream, first download the app from the App Store and install it onto your MacBook.
- Then, open the app and click on the JustStream icon in the “Menu Bar.” Use the “+” icon to select the files you want to mirror to your TV screen.
- Finally, use the center icon to choose the device to which you want to stream.
With JustStream, you can easily connect your MacBook to your Samsung TV and share your content with others.
Why can’t I connect my MacBook Air to my TV?
If you’re having trouble connecting your MacBook Air to your TV, there are a few things you can try.
First, make sure your TV is turned on. If it is, try resetting the SMC (System Management Controller). This can often resolve issues with connections and display settings.
If that doesn’t work, try using Apple’s HDMI cables. These are specifically designed for use with Apple products and may provide a better connection. Finally, if you’re still having trouble, contact Apple customer support for further assistance.
How can I use my TV as a monitor?
Most people use their TVs to watch movies, TV shows, and sports. But did you know that you can also use your TV as a monitor?
This can come in handy if you want to display your computer’s screen on a larger screen. And it’s quite easy to do! All you need is an HDMI cable. If your graphics card has an HDMI output, simply connect one end of the cable to your PC and the other end to your TV.
That’s all there is to it! Your TV will now act as an extension of your computer’s screen. So if you’re looking for a bigger display for working on projects or browsing the web, give this method a try. You might be surprised at how much more convenient it is to use a TV as a monitor.
When All Is Said and Done
You should connect your MacBook to your smart TV or HDTV in case you wish to view streaming videos for TV shows and movies from your MacBook browser. Not that your smart TV or HDTV can’t view those things through other means—like downloaded apps or streaming media.
However, it pays to have connection alternatives when push comes to shove. Maybe you don’t want to pay extra for a Chromecast device or a Roku Streaming Stick Plus. Perhaps the HDCP that normally blocks Netflix connections via Airplay can be bypassed by the right HDMI cable or wired connection.
- Steven John, “How to connect your Mac computer to a TV, and use a TV as a mirrored screen or second monitor“, Business Insider, January 23, 2021
- Jerri Ledford, “How to Connect a MacBook to a TV“, Lifewire.com, February 21, 2022