Griffin’s Mini DisplayPort to HDMI / DVI Adapter: A Mac Video Viewing Solution | iLounge Backstage

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Griffin’s Mini DisplayPort to HDMI / DVI Adapter: A Mac Video Viewing Solution

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By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Tuesday, February 23, 2010
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For whatever reason, Griffin’s newest Mac accessory isn’t named as obviously as it could be—“Mini DisplayPort to HDMI / DVI Adapter”—but rather carries the title Video Display Converter, a generic name that’s smaller on its package than the words “CONNECT Mini DisplayPort to HDMI & DVI.” And in another understatement, the box calls the Converter useful “for Mini DisplayPort laptops,” including the “September 2008 and later MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air,” but omits several Apple desktops—new Mac minis, iMacs, and certain Mac Pros—that can also benefit from the two-piece adapter.

Why would anyone need this? See this explanatory photo: it lets your HDTV become a huge external display for your laptop or the aforementioned Macs, and serves as an alternative to an earlier Apple adapter for DVI monitors, as well. The details—and a noteworthy alternative—can be found by clicking on this article’s title or the Read More link below.

In its most basic Mini DisplayPort to HDMI form, the Video Display Converter is a semi-flexible six-inch black cable with one male Mini DisplayPort plug and one female HDMI port on its ends, connecting directly to a Mac’s MiniDisplay Port and a self-supplied HDMI cable to your HDTV. Once the connections are made, your Mac immediately recognizes the TV’s supported resolutions—480p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p in the case of a modern U.S. high-definition television—and also offers lower-resolution options that are based on prior Mac monitor settings. In our case, 1080p (1920x1080) was the best setting, and the Mac automatically selected it without any need for user input.

The result? Suddenly a MacBook Pro could be playing content on two displays at once—its own screen and the full HD 1080p television—which enabled us to simultaneously watch a movie on the big TV while running Mac software on the Mac’s built-in monitor. You can also mirror a MacBook’s screen on the TV, which generally results in a lower-resolution image than the TV is capable of displaying, or conceivably turn the laptop’s screen off entirely, transforming it into a desktop machine. Apple’s display settings allow the connected TV image to be rotated, too, which helps if the user’s need for the external display is professional—say, running a video menu screen at a restaurant while using the countertop Mac to take orders.

Griffin also includes a DVI adapter, which effectively transforms the Mini DisplayPort into a female DVI plug. Used in this configuration, the Video Display Converter becomes the equivalent of Apple’s $29 Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter, allowing you to connect your new Mac up to Apple’s 20”/23” Cinema Displays, and other DVI-equipped monitors. Videos outside of iTunes (say, with QuickTime) can be maximized to play on the full screen; using iTunes, we briefly tried to get an iTunes Store HD video (Quantum of Solace) to display on the full screen of the monitor and it would only play in a window, albeit a window of virtually any size we preferred, or on the MacBook Pro’s own display.

So what’s the catch? The price. Griffin’s selling the Video Display Converter for $40, which mightn’t look crazy in an Apple Store given that Apple’s less versatile adapter sells for only $10 less, but places such as MonoPrice are offering full Mini DisplayPort to HDMI cables for $10-$12 depending on length, eliminating your need to supply the HDMI cable yourself. There’s little doubt in our minds that accessories such as this one can be useful alternatives to streaming videos from a Mac to an Apple TV, but Griffin made a name for itself by offering far better pricing than Monster Cable and Apple, and when MonoPrice can offer a similar or better solution for a quarter of the price, something’s a little off. Here’s hoping that Amazon and other retailers will discount the Video Display Converter enough to make it worthy of everyone’s attention.

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Comments

1

How do you get sound from the this? I thought the mini-display port only did video? For example, if I wanted to hook up my MacBook to my TV to watch movies, how would I get the sound to come through my home theater system?

Posted by Jordon on February 23, 2010 at 9:20 AM (PDT)

2

But does it carry sound as well? HDMI carries sound as well. I thought the advantage of using it versus DVI was that…

Posted by victor on February 23, 2010 at 9:20 AM (PDT)

3

Sound will come from the Mac’s speakers or headphone port. The Mini DisplayPort doesn’t provide audio, so you’ll need to connect an analog or optical audio cable to the Mac (model-dependent) in order to get that.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 23, 2010 at 9:39 AM (PDT)

4

No audio = no sale. My HDTV has a DVI input, so I may as well keep using Apple’s DVI adapter for my MacBook, which works flawlessly.

Posted by Herr Doktor on February 23, 2010 at 9:51 AM (PDT)

5

Monoprice also offers a combined USB audio and Mini-DP to HDMI for about the same price as Griffin’s cable.  It works pretty well, the only complaint is, IIRC, you have to re-select the USB Audio output every time you connect it.

I _believe_ the only real improvement for the Mini-DP to HDMI cable (versus an all DVI signal path) is that HDCP is supported on HDMI, while the DVI solution will generate an error.  That may or may not be an issue depending on your media sources.

Posted by Patrick on February 23, 2010 at 11:24 AM (PDT)

6

Here’s the million-dollar question: does it work the other way around?
That is, does it work for an input on a late-2009 27” iMac?
If it does, then it’s totally worth it

Posted by Sam on February 23, 2010 at 2:24 PM (PDT)

7

#6: It appears that the answer is no. Just tried to connect an Xbox 360 to the cable and no dice. It’s possible that some other device might work, but this one doesn’t.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 23, 2010 at 2:34 PM (PDT)

8

Yes, it works for input on the 27” iMac and supports audio as well (only on the iMac, not on any other current Macs).

Discussion of this feature is available on a Web site that I can’t link to because iLounge is blocking my comment when I add a link. Sorry.

Posted by Nicholas Riley on February 23, 2010 at 5:16 PM (PDT)

9

There is another consideration - Apple’s MiniDisplayPort to DVI adapter is only DVI-D rather than DVI-I and therefore some people have found they can’t use it to connect to a DVI monitor. Given this is essentially a MiniDisplayPort to HDMI adapter with a standard HDMI to DVI adapter thrown in, this should support DVI-I & DVI-A monitors as well.

Posted by Jonathan White on February 25, 2010 at 12:34 PM (PDT)

10

this adapter does carry audio from the 2010 macbook and the macbookpros. others just don’t support audio.

Posted by raj on June 8, 2010 at 2:19 AM (PDT)

11

Will this adapter carry audio from the new 2010 15"macbook pro that became available from march/april 2010.

websites that are selling this adapter says you will need additional aux cable if you want sound.

Geoff

Posted by geoff on June 10, 2010 at 10:54 AM (PDT)

12

I have now purchased the griffin adapter for my 2010 15"macbook pro. and it does carry audio.
But i had to go into utilities/sound/output and there you will see the name of what ever TV you have connected via the HDMI cable high light the TV info and close the window.I got this info after contacting apple 90 days support.

Posted by Geoff on June 12, 2010 at 4:09 PM (PDT)

13

Bugger.

I have MacBook Pro 2009 model and tried two different HDML adaptor cables for mini DVI, but not luck for the getting audio output to my LCD TV.

I can’t find the /Applications/utilities/sound/output. Does this mean that it is not supported for this model?

If it is, is there a way to get one for my model or does this mean that there is no way because the DVI port (hardware) does not support it???

:-(

Posted by Yoichi on August 25, 2010 at 2:29 PM (PDT)

14

Mid-2010 Macbook Pros’ Mini DisplayPort supports both video and audio output with VESA compliant adapters (Griffin makes an HDMI that supports it - I am using it right now with my 17” MBP.)

Posted by Jonny T on August 31, 2010 at 1:35 PM (PDT)

15

will this replace this adapter?I am desperate to find the replacement if there is one


Griffin Technology Mac PnP Universal Video Adapter (DB-15 Male to HD-15 Female)

Posted by mairead on September 10, 2010 at 12:42 AM (PDT)

16

i have a MacBook bought early 2009 and I wanted to connect it to my HDTV [Sony Bravia]. I’ve recently bought a Mini Displayport to HDMI Adapter, and a HDMI cable. Naw, how do i go abt ths process of connecting it? Tried evrythng i could but to no avail! another question, is my MacBook compatible with my adapter and HDMI cable??

I’d really, really appreciate an enlightment on ths.

Posted by naav on September 18, 2010 at 6:13 AM (PDT)

17

I’m new to Apple.  I bought a 27 inch iMac believing I was getting special hardware.  Not running sound to an HDMI port tells me I’m not.  If I use HDMI, my television expects the sound to come from there.  It has no sound input outside of that.

Posted by Ric on October 15, 2010 at 9:34 PM (PDT)

18

I need one of Mini display to HDMI adpater for my MacBook. I would just like to know about its price (including shipping) to India

Posted by Pratik Chouhan on January 17, 2011 at 8:26 AM (PDT)

19

Ok….I have a new Macbook pro, plugged it in, set my dound to HDMI….got sound but no video…am I missing something? I can get the background screen from my mac but thats it

Posted by jeff on March 11, 2011 at 4:36 PM (PDT)

20

#19 you have 2 parallel desktops one in your tv and one in your computer .... try to config system preferences first.

Posted by adelina on April 28, 2011 at 6:26 AM (PDT)

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