Kanex Mini DisplayPort Adapter To HDMI 1080p Video w/ Digital Audio
Company: Kanex, Inc.
Apple’s incorporation of the Mini DisplayPort in its newer computers has produced big changes for people who wish to send video and audio-out signals from the Macs to drive their HD televisions with an HDMI signal. Currently, the Unibody MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac Mini, and iMac all use Mini DisplayPort.
While you can easily get an adapter to connect Mini DisplayPort to HDMI, Apple’s implementation of the Mini DisplayPort protocol does not send any audio signal out of the computer. So unless you have lots of Marcel Marceau videos, or watch subtitled foreign films with the sound off, you won’t enjoy the lack of audio. Unless you prefer to fool with multiple cables or adapters.
Kanex may have the solution you’ve been searching for!
Kanex’s Mini DisplayPort Adapter To HDMI 1080p Video w/ Digital Audio is an easy-to-use solution to get video from your Mini-DisplayPort-equipped Mac to your HD television via an HDMI signal. At $69.95, it’s not cheap, but it’s the only solution I’m aware of that does not require separate multiple cables, and handles digital audio and HDMI up to 1080p resolution.
How well does it actually perform?
The Kanex adapter needs no assembly prior to use. However, our evaluation unit came with no instructions at all on how to actually set up and use the device once it was plugged in. But your intrepid reviewer plunged ahead to see just how hard it was to get it working with no instructions.
Even a newbie can figure out where to connect the various cables. The Kanex box has a USB plug, an audio-out plug, and a Mini DisplayPort connector; each goes into its respective connector on your Macintosh. You then connect your TV’s HMDI cable to the HDMI slot on the Kanex, and the physical connections are complete. That takes all of 15 seconds or so.
The important part is adjusting your Mac’s Display preferences to send the correct video-out signal to your TV. You need to know what kind of TV you have; can it handle 480i, 720i, 10801, or 1080p? Do you want Overscan on or off? Mirroring on or off?
Without any instructions, I decided on the “keep clicking until something good happens” approach. After a couple of failures to get a usable TV picture, I dug out my TV’s manual, and found it was 1080i capable. Choosing 1080i, then turning on mirroring produced a perfect HD signal for the TV.
I fired up the QuickTime Player, and played a movie I’d ripped to my MacBook Pro’s hard drive; The Bourne Identity. The picture quality was splendid, as was the digital audio. No complaints at all.
With the Kanex adapter, I’m finally able to take best advantage of Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” streaming video features. Before the Kanex, I had no way to watch Netflix streamed movies on my 39″ TV. Now, my wife and I can relax in the living room, and not have to watch movies at the computer. Ahh, marital bliss!
During testing, I expressed my concerns about the lack of documentation to my contact at Kanex. Within a day or two, Kanex produced this blog page with clear instructions on how to set up your Mac’s Display preferences. Once you go online to read the instructions, you probably won’t need to do so again. Even so, a quick printout would be a good idea.
Now, even the most fearful non-geek can use the Kanex Mini DisplayPort Adapter To HDMI adapter.
Pros: The Kanex Mini DisplayPort Adapter To HDMI is a well-engineered adapter to get crystal-clear HDMI video and digital audio from your Mac to your HD TV.
Cons: It’s not cheap, and you have to go online to read the setup instructions.