Q&A: Connecting an iMac to HD TV

Q I am purchasing a new iMac soon. What is the best way to connect it to my high definition TV?

A What you should strive to achieve is the best digital connection that supports maximum resolution graphics and audio connection to your TV, and this will depend on the inputs that the TV supports.

Unlike the Mac Pro which does have its own HDMI port, the best that available from an iMac is via a Thunderbolt (Mini DisplayPort format) to HDMI adaptor. With the most modern models, this should be capable of carrying full audio as well as HDMI video, and should produce the very best input and display result.

A slightly simpler compromise that would still do very well is for TVs with a DVI input. You could then use a Mini DisplayPort to DVI adaptor for the video signal, with separate sound connection. The latter can be via a USB converter, to whatever audio input the TV provides, preferably digital, but analogue normally gives almost as good quality.

You should also bear in mind that most purchased digital content, including iTunes movies, may have digital rights management (DRM), and may not play unless it traverses HDMI and similarly ‘protected’ paths.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 27 issue 14, 2011.