Mac mini (Early 2006) and later: Connecting to a television
There's a lot of variety in television design. Learn more about these guidelines to help you decide how to connect your TV to your Mac mini (Early 2006) and later models.
Look for a computer-specific port
Many televisions have a port labeled for connections to a computer. If your TV has one, check the TV owner's manual to see what it recommends. On some TVs, using the computer port causes the television to enter a mode with little or no overscan and very little post-processing applied the video signal. This will produce a result more suited to a computer.
In some cases, the "computer" port may be analog VGA, even when the television also has a digital port such HDMI. Despite the VGA connection being analog, it may produce a higher quality result on some TVs, so experiment as necessary.
Most recent models of digital High Definition Televisions (HDTV) using LCD, plasma, DLP rear projection, LCD rear projection, or front projection display technologies include one or more high quality input options:
- DVI: DVI is a digital interface used for both computer displays and televisions. You can attach a standard DVI cable from the Mac mini (Early 2006) and Mac mini (Mid 2007) to an HDTV with resolutions up to 1920 x 1080. The Mac mini (Early 2009) and Mac mini (Late 2009) have a Mini DVI port that you can connect to a DVI display using the included Mini-DVI to DVI adapter, with resolutions up to 1920 x 1200. The Mac mini (Mid 2010) includes an HDMI to DVI adapter for use with its HDMI port, supporting resolutions up to 1920 x 1080.
- HDMI: HDMI is similar to DVI, but has a different physical connector that can include an audio signal. You can connect an HDTV or display with HDMI inputs directly to the HDMI port on your Mac mini (Mid 2010) or Mac mini (Mid 2011) using a standard HDMI cable. Connect the Mac mini (Late 2009) and Mac mini (Early 2009) with a Mini Display Port to HDMI adapter (sold separately), and the Mac mini (Early 2006) and Mac mini (Mid 2007) with a DVI to HDMI adapter. A DVI to HDMI adapter will relay video but not necessarily audio from the computer: see the section below for audio connection options.
- VGA: The Apple DVI to VGA display adapter—included with your Mac mini (Early 2006) and Mac mini (Mid 2007)—can be used along with a VGA cable to connect to an HDTV with an analog VGA—also known as PC-input (VGA/RGB)—supporting resolutions up to 1920 x1080. The Mac mini (Early 2009) and Mac mini (Late 2009) can use the Mini-DVI to VGA adapter, while the Mac mini (Mid 2010) and Mac mini (Mid 2011) can use the Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter.
Analog NTSC (National Television Systems Committee) or PAL (Phase Alternation Line) standard definition televisions can be connected to the Mac mini (Early 2006) and Mac mini (Mid 2007) with the Apple DVI to Video Adapter using the following analog connectors:
- Composite: Composite is the most widely available video input on traditional analog televisions. It delivers acceptable quality at resolutions up to 800 x 600 on most televisions.
- S-Video: S-Video separates the analog video signal into separate channels, providing better quality than Composite. S-Video is best used with a resolution of 800 x 600.
Note: The Apple DVI to Video Adapter works only with Mac mini (Early 2006) and Mac mini (Mid 2007).
Many televisions have an on-screen display (OSD) interface that allows you to adjust various TV settings. Here are some helpful tips to get the best picture quality when using your Mac mini (Early 2006) with a TV:
- Check the resolution: Many televisions will display a variety of resolutions in the Display preference pane of System Preferences when the television is attached to the Mac mini (Early 2006). Select a resolution that is closest to the native resolution of the the television; typically 640 x 480 for a standard definition TV, 720 x 480 or 848 x 480 for an EDTV (Enhanced Definition Television), 1280 x 720 or 1366 x 768 for a 720P HDTV (720 Progressive Scan), and 1920 x 1080 for a 1080i HDTV (1080 Interlaced Scan).
- Interlaced mode: CRT televisions will typically use an Interlaced display, where the picture is drawn in alternating scan lines. Plasma, LCD, and DLP/LCD projection televisions are typically Progressive Scan, meaning each scan line is drawn one after the other. For optimal picture quality, do not use an Interlaced display mode on a Progressive-capable TV.
- Picture Zoom: Picture Zoom typically allows you to adjust the size of the picture displayed on the television. Use Picture Zoom in conjunction with the Overscan option in the Displays preference pane of System Preferences on the Mac mini (Early 2006) to achieve an optimal picture size.
- Brightness, Contrast, Color: Options like brightness, contrast, and color temperature can also help you achieve optimal picture quality.
If the Mac OS X menu bar is off the edge of the television screen, try adjusting the television's controls to center and size the desktop within the borders of the screen.
If the television's built-in adjustments do not suffice and you are using a DVI or HDMI connection, try the following steps. (An s-video or composite connection will disable overscan by default.)
- Open System Preferences on the Mac.
- Select the Displays pane.
- Click the Options tab.
- Deselect the Overscan checkbox.
This will reduce the size of the video output from the Mac mini so that there will be some empty space around the edges. Once this option has been set, try again with the TV's built-in controls to size and center the desktop within the borders of the television screen.
Minimize video post-processing
If the television has any of the following settings, set them to "Off" or their minimum value:
- Noise reduction (often called "Digital Noise Reduction" or DNR)
- Contrast enhancer or corrector
- Black level enhancer or corrector
- White level enhancer or corrector
- Auto color
Tip: Some TVs disable these features automatically when a video source is connected to a computer-specific port.
Adjust contrast and brightness
Be sure the contrast and brightness of the television are set properly.
- Open System Preferences
- Select the Displays pane.
- Click the Color tab.
- If a color profile specific to your television is available, select it.
- Click the Calibrate button.
- Click Continue, and follow the prompts through the calibration assistant to create a profile.
Once finished, do not change any of the video adjustments on the television without going through the Display Calibrator Assistant again, as the color profile will no longer match.
Mac mini (Early 2006) and later computers use a combo mini-plug connector to output both digital audio and analog audio signals. With these computers installed in your living room, you can connect audio in a number of ways:
- Digital Audio: Use an optical mini-plug cable with the audio output on these computers to connect A/V receivers and home theater audio systems with 5.1 surround sound and optical audio inputs. A mini-plug to toslink adapter may be needed to connect to some receivers.
- Digital Audio to HDMI: Both Mac mini (Mid 2010) and Mac mini (Mid 2011) output digital audio to an HDMI capable receiver or television through the built-in HDMI port.
- Analog Audio: These computers can also be connected to most televisions, audio receivers, and speakers using analog line-out. A mini-plug to stereo RCA adapter may be necessary. The Monster iCable mini-to-RCA left/right audio cable is available at the Apple Store.