Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hooking Up an Apple TV to Anything

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When the new Apple TV arrived, I couldn't wait to hook it up...after all, it would magically transform...well, I don't know. I just knew I needed to get one to fully take advantage of my iPad. Unfortunately, after digging to the bottom of a small box, I realized I was missing a critical component--an HDMI cable. At least, I thought that's what I was missing.

A few questions started going around in my head:
  1. Where can I get an HDMI to HDMI cable for less than Apple's $19.00
  2. If teachers are buying their own Apple TVs to put into their classrooms--presumably so they can mirror student iPads, as well as their own, is there an HDMI to VGA adapter?
  3. If teacher buying their own Apple TVs wanted to connect that device to a television with component cables (red, green, blue), how would they do that?

I admit that I am a rank beginner with my iPad and Apple TV. I have yet to buy the HDMI cable, although I may have a chance this weekend.

Fortunately, there were a few folks online who had some suggestions for alternatives:

 288  somernewland@mguhlin Check Amazon. Lots of cheap options!

 pwelter@mguhlin I've used this on amazon has a Basics HDMI for $6 also that will work fine. 
6 foot cable for $9.99 via Amazon
Two other responses:
 126  drrios@mguhlin I hooked up my Apple TV with an HDMI cable from Altex. Much cheaper. 153  mmongardi@mguhlin I just bought an HDMI cable at an electronics store. So yes, you can do better than $19!
While it would be neat if all our classroom equipment had HDMI, chances are, they don't. But we do have digital projectors...and older televisions with component video/audio.

HDMI TO VGA or Apple TV to Digital Projector
Ok, so here's the problem--teachers are buying Apple TVs to put in their classrooms, but they don't have any televisions with HDMI to plug into. Would it be possible to just use an HDMI to VGA cable that you could plug into a digital projector? The answer is NO, the cable below won't work:
$0.99 HDMI to VGA Cable via Amazon - THIS WILL NOT WORK
Here's why:
This is a good quality cable, but it does not convert HDMI to VGA. HDMI is a purely digital signal and VGA is analog, unless you have a device that can accept a digital signal via its VGA port this will not work. If you need to display HDMI on a VGA monitor this will not work for you. Probably cheaper to get a secondary video card.
Alas, it looks like a $100 converter box would be needed to go from HDMI digital signal to VGA analog on a digital projector, but thanks to the power of Amazon, it's not that expensive:
$40.96 HDMI to VGA Converter Box

Ok, so to revise my understanding here...

The Apple TV via HDMI to HDMI would be plugged into the converter box, and the digital projector cable would go into the VGA slot. And, it works with Apple TV according to this comment:
I needed a converter to convert the HDMI out of the Apple TV2 to the VGA in of a projector so that I could project my iPad2 screen. Works perfectly for this solution.
I could actually stop right here since this pretty much solves the problem the teachers were having. 

However, for fun, what would it take to connect the Apple TV to a television with component video?

VGA to Component Cable

You would probably need the following:
  1. Apple TV
  2. HDMI to HDMI Cable ($9.99 via Amazon)
  3. HDMI to VGA Converter Box ($40.96 via Amazon)
  4. VGA to 3 RCA Component Cable PC RGB LCD HDTV ($3.60 via Amazon)
So, the way I understand it, you plug the HDMI to HDMI cable, one end into the Apple TV, and the other into the HDMI to VGA Converter Box. Then, you plug the VGA end of the VGA to Component Cable into the VGA slot on the HDMI to VGA Converter Box and the 3 RCA Component Cable end into the back of your television set (or VCR).

Do these 3 solutions work and what's the cost (no shipping included) of connecting an Apple TV to...
  1. HDMI TV - $10 = (HDMI to HDMI Cable at $9.99 via Amazon)
  2. Digital Projector - $51 = (HDMI to HDMI Cable at $9.99 each + HDMI to VGA Converter Box at $40.96)
  3. Television or VCR with Component Cable support - $55 =  (HDMI to HDMI Cable at $9.99 each + HDMI to VGA Converter Box at $40.96 + VGA to Component Cable at $3.60 each)
Given that you bought an iPad, an Apple TV, another $50 doesn't seem that bad an investment...or does it?

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Skipz said...

Thank you so much, Miguel.

Kristy said...

I purchased my HDMI to HDMI cable at 5 Below (similar to a Dollar store here in NC-- new chain of stores). I also have purchased iPad cases, iPod cases and other iOs paraphernalia at this store. My son got a case for his iPhone 4 here as well. Everything in the store is $5 or less.

Unknown said...

We have hooked these up in some of our classrooms here with VGA projectors. Found this HD convertor.
Linkstyle HD convertor. Comes with HDMI cable and handles audio out to projector or source as well to handle the audio from apple tv.

Ronnie Gonzalez said...


I've purchased some HDMI cables pretty cheap from as well. Here is a link to the HDMI cable I purchased for $2.07.

Nathaniel Lindley said...

Simplify setup for AppleTV to VGA projectors with two items.   Kanex ATV Pro ($57.99) and VGA/Audio cord from Monoprice.  ($3.10)

Robert Schuetz said...

TigerDirect - Cables-to-Go = pair of HDMI cables 6' for $10.
You will be sadly disappointed with the look of HDMI to Composite picture - text is difficult to read.
Kanex boxes work well in our classrooms. Next generation HDMI projectors make the iPad / Apple TV really pop! $1000 solution.

Esay leoz said...

HDMI Ethernet Cables for Australia.

Carlisle Bolton said...

This is what I hate most with Apple products, their cabling system. More often than not, they're not compatible with generic cables. You will need to purchase those cables separately in their not so cheap prices.

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