White MacBook vs Samsung TV

Note: This post was originally published on iamianwright.com it’s been moved here for archival purposes.

A few years ago I bought my parents a Samsung TV as a Christmas present.  Recently they have started watching more content on their laptop and my Mum asked if there was a way to connect it to the TV for easier viewing.  They have a somewhat ageing MacBook, the white plastic model (long since discontinued) which has a Mini DVI output.  So we purchased a Mini DVI to HDMI adapter and some HDMI cables from amazon and with my Mother being a slight technophobe I was invited over to “set it up”.

For anyone reading this you’ll be thinking exactly what I was, plug the cables in, select the HDMI input and Robert’s your Dad’s brother.  This is exactly what happened when I plugged it into the small, cheap TV in their bedroom.  However the larger, more expensive Samsung TV in their living room refused to behave itself.  I tried various menus on the television to no avail.  I googled the problem with every keyword combination I could think of and eventually gave up.

The MacBook was clearly recognising it was plugged into an external display as the screen flashed as it should but the TV stubbornly continued showing the No Signal message.  I admitted defeat and headed home.

A considerable amount of searching later I found this post on the AVS Forums which seemed to describe a similar issue.  Fortunately I had access to a PC laptop that offered an HDMI out so I visited my parents again and gave it a go.  Success!

The TV detected the PC’s output immediately.  I changed the Picture Size to Screen Fit as directed, disconnected the PC and then connected the MacBook which then worked faultlessly.

I have written this here in the hope of directing anyone else encountering the same problem to this hard to find gem of information.  It’s a very peculiar issue but armed with the instructions and a Windows laptop it is solved in minutes.