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Mac Treat #191: Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Audio Setup

Here at Small Dog, we sell a sweet little cable that will connect your MacBook Pro to your HDTV. It’s called the Hammerhead Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Cable. I purchased one of these as soon as I got my Mac, brought it home and plugged it into my computer and TV. It was as simple as that to get video from my Mac to my TV.

The problem came up when I tried to play a movie — sound was coming out of my Mac, but not my TV. Luckily, it is rather easy, and makes logical sense as to why it wasn’t working. Macs are so powerful that they let you determine how you want you sound to be played — whether it be through the computer speakers or through external ones.

All you have to do is go to System Preferences and click on the Sound category. This changes the window to the Sound menu. Along the top of the window you should see three tabs labeled Sound Effects, Output, and Input. Select Output and then from the list below select the Output with the type of HDMI. This will tell your computer to send the audio data through the Mini DisplayPort to your TV. That is it — From here, you should be listening to audio from your TV’s speakers instead of your Mac’s.

Of course, these instructions have a few caveats. First, my machine is a 2011 MacBook Pro running OS 10.7. Your setup might be different and the Mini DisplayPort only started supporting audio out on the 2010 (and later) machines. The next important thing to ask is: Does your TV have an HDMI port in it? It’s also handy if your TV has speakers either built-in or connected to it.

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