It appears that, with the shift to the DisplayPort, Apple has eliminated adapter accessories for S-Video and composite video output. We’ll need to properly confirm this, but of course, you will want a way of being able to do this for maximum flexibility on the road.

DIY solutions, anyone? DisplayPort does have the ability to pass through analog signals, so there’s no reason, in theory, this shouldn’t be possible, as far as I know. And you should be able to use an adapter that translates VGA to S-Video / composite. (Apple DOES offer a VGA output adapter for the new models.)

Tto be clear, as I understand it, what’s possibly happened is the elimination of adapters from Apple, not something that’s impossible to fix. That means, unless I’m missing something, we should have at the very least an opening for some third-party accessories.

I think it’s an arrogant decision on Apple’s part: no HDMI, no S-Video, and no composite means that, if this is true, they knowingly eliminated all of the primary ways people currently connect video output on their computers. And it certainly shouldn’t be technically impossible.

I’m happy to be corrected, of course. Solutions?

Updated: Here’s one way to go, theoretically — buy Apple’s VGA adapter, then buy something like this to get your S-Vid / composite video jack. And be sure not to forget either dongle. (Doh!)

Can anyone think of any problem with going that route?

Another update: DisplayPort, as an interconnect standard, specifies both the physical connector and the signal. Apple is not properly supporting DisplayPort, because they’re substituting a completely different physical connector. And, quite frankly, that means it’s unacceptable for Apple to crow about how this is an emerging standard, when they don’t actually support that standard. It also means the options for third-party accessories will be scant.

  • Graham T

    I'm not impressed really…

    Apart from the VGA output problems the new mac's have no firewire 400 – thats gunna piss people off using FW400 interfaces or people who have external drives.

  • Peter Kirn

    Graham: FYI, the FW800 thing isn't a deal breaker on the MBP — see other stories. FW400 devices can connect to FW800 for power and data, at FW400 speeds, of course. The problem is the non-Pro MacBook, which has — two USB2 ports. That's it. I mean, jeez, there are netbooks with more wired connectivity. Of course, we kind of already knew Steve Jobs didn't much like connectors, but…

  • vjwunderkind

    There are definately fw800 to fw400 adapters but the loss of video out is indeed something bad. Also the fact that macbooks no longer have firewire at all makes me really think that apple's become kind of nuts. What's the point in having iMovie if you can't connect your camera? That's surely a step back in my opinion.

  • Peter Kirn

    The only logic I can apply runs something like this. Either:
    "You'll have hard drive-based cameras, so you'll use USB!"

    … although that seems a really shoddy argument, given the absurd number of FW-only cameras out there.

    Or, more likely:
    "Let's sacrifice function for slimness on the MacBook. Anyone who wanted that function will be forced to buy a different computer that's hundreds of dollars more! Everyone wins!"

    I wouldn't worry as much about the video out, for reasons above. But I will say this. I LOVE ports. I love them. I want lots of them. I want them everywhere. So I feel increasingly out of sync with Apple on a philosophical level on this, somehow. I don't think my feelings are irrational, unethical, or dirty. I want to express them. As discussed in comments elsewhere, this doesn't exactly make me yell "Sony!" but there are other PC makers who love ports as I do.

  • jcbklyny

    That VGA to Svideo adapter noted in the post will only work if the graphics card supports TV output over VGA. If Apple is removing this from their computers, chances are they wont include this function in their drivers.

  • richardl

    Can't you connect HDMI to DVI which is supported?

  • Peter Kirn

    We don't currently know that Apple is removing any support for anything here. It appears they discontinued the accessory with these connectors on it, that's all. So yes, it's a matter of what the graphics card (NVIDIA) and drivers for that graphics card (NVIDIA/Apple) support, then a matter of finding the right hardware to physically make the connection.

    But yes, my thought is that via that DVI you should be able to fake into HDMI and analog S-vid and composite. That's what we're trying to confirm for certain.

  • lotech

    No HDMI because it can't support the 30" 2560×1600 resolution – HDMI uses DVI as its basis and not Dual Link DVI which is necessary for the higher resolutions. I wouldn't be surprised if theres eventually an official Display Port -> HDMI adaptor – or at least a 3rd party one.

    As for the lack of S-Video/Composite. I suppose we're living in the future now – DV's over, Analogue plugs too.
    Unfortuntely us VJ's aren't quite there, at least not as far as the ins and outs of affordable hardware mixers go. Maybe the V8 is making more sense thanks to its VGA in….

  • Pingback: Apple: Stop being so arrogant. No one likes form over function « Gumbo Blog

  • Peter Kirn

    @lotech: I hear you. I just think Apple jumped the gun, and I don't think, technically speaking, it was necessary. It's certainly anything but a selling point.

    DV is over, in the age of YouTube, and with an increasing number of mobile devices playing video? Don't think so. Anyway, on the FireWire front, when Apple killed the FireWire jack, HDV lost, too.

    And there are plenty of devices that still use analog, composite/S-Video connectors. Apple sells them for their iPods and iPhone. TVs and monitors and studio monitors use them, not just VJ mixers. Mixers *are* a big deal – VGA mixers still cost as much as a compact car.

    HDMI, incidentally, can work via a passthrough on DisplayPort. So there was no reason Apple had to force its users into the choice.

    From Engadget:
    "Q: No Blu-ray, and display port — why no HDMI?
    A: Steve: HDMI is limited in resolution. Phil: for typical computer use, display port is the connector of the future."

    That's typical of Apple's attitude. This is the future, so we're going to punish you in the present? It seems like the retort is, okay, well then why don't I wait for the future and get back to you about buying your laptop then?

    That rant now out of my system, I think the remaining question is, what can the drivers support? You can pass through HDMI via DisplayPort, certainly theoretically you can pass through a TV out signal for S-Vid and composite. So it's a matter of whether they supported that in the drivers.

    That really comes down to a software engineering issue, though, and how flexible their product is to the people buying it, not whether Apple is ushering in the future.

  • vjwunderkind

    I don't really understand the fuss about HDMI here, there are dvi to hdmi cables. Lack of firewire and analogue outs is bothering me more…

  • iHooLIGAN

    What about combination of Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI + Dual Link DVI to Video?


    Apple is going for the normal computer user and forgot a lot of people that needs more than 2 USB ports and more connectivity for video. I was thinking on getting one macbook but now i just don't know :x

  • taperecorder

    By the time you've gone to all that trouble why not get a scan converter and have a little more control over the signal?

  • Allan W.

    I'm not too upset about a lack of composite or S-out. I live in RGB.

    @taperecorder: you said it. Scanconverter FTW.

  • Graham T

    I have a bit of a better understanding now but still feel it is a wrong move by apple. I know apple have been the pioneers of implementing new technology and pushing new levels: but – look at all the concerns it is raising.

    Why fix something that isn't broken?

    In my opinion the MacBook should be the pretty family/student windows alternative but the PRO needs all the in's and out's. I don't think we mind plugging things in and having cables hanging out the sides because we want a portable desktop replacement for live AV performances- am I right?

  • mechno

    I've ordered a MBP, the displayport to DVI and the DVI to ntsc. They are trickling in now and as soon as I get all the pieces I'll post the results.

    I use an Averkey 550, but I'd be curious what the scan converters anyone else likes.

  • mechno

    Even though I've yet to get my Macbook Pro yet, I can tell you that chaining together a MiniDisplayport to DVI and DVI to video adapter will NOT work. I have the two adapters in front of me and they do not fit together.

    The Displayport to DVI is Dual link DVI-D
    The DVI to video is Single link DVI-I

    That means that the displayport adapter does not carry the analog signals.


  • Miguex

    This is crazy. From a designer point of view, the only glossy/ glare screen is un-acceptable for color correction.

    No FW400, means I will need to get an adaptor for my camera, and I wont be able to run my loops from my drive.

    But no way to output to S-Video? I'm in serious trouble here.
    This is huge.. how am I going to keep VJ? I'm picking up my MBP this friday, and my next gig is coming up, anyone found a solution to this problem?

  • vjwunderkind

    Could this be the solution:×2%20port.h
    It's an HDMI switch which apparently also does DVI – just don't know yet wether it creates glitches or not. I emailed them though.

  • vjwunderkind

    Wow – quick answer:


    "Hello Thomas,
    Thank you for your inquiry
    The 4×2 Cross switch is very solid, we see not glitches switching between sources.
    There is approximatly 2-3second delay when switching for sources to synch."

  • Peter Kirn

    vjwunderkind — very cool for HDMI, for sure. But what problem does that solve? (well, HDMI switching, I suppose?)

    Not sure how that helps with S-Vid / composite TV out?

    I'm with others that a scan converter may actually be necessary, though that's really a pain for a simple laptop video output.

  • Miguex

    Has anyone tried this?

    I think I will order one, but I want to check first if anyone had some troubles with it

  • TommeeT

    Peter, as Apple are obviously keen to minimise (eliminate?!) ports, would you please recommend some of those "other PC makers" who decent laptops for visuals?

  • dan

    Has anyone found a solution to this yet? Of the options suggested above… The VGA TO S-VIDEO OR RCA ADAPTER? The $300 4 x 2 HDMI Cross Switch? Or the PC to TV Converter?

    I'm a VJ and need to send to a video mixer which only accepts S-video… I refuse to believe that my six-year old laptop is what I will be forced to use to do the job :(